Join Wikipedia in photographing and celebrating Britain’s cultural heritage in museums, galleries and archives nationwide
UK: ‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’ is a month-long competition and series of events to be held in participating museums nationwide from 31 January 2010. People from all ages, backgrounds and communities can take part in the competition, which encourages the public to photograph the treasures of our nation’s museums and galleries, actively involving them in digitally recording the collections. All of the photos entered into the ‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’ competition will be made available under a free license on Wikimedia Commons, and can then be used to illustrate Wikipedia articles.
Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Chief Executive Roy Clare said, “‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’ provides a stimulating opportunity for museums and Wikipedia to work more closely together for the benefit of the public. This new collaboration enables museums to bring their collections, scholarship and expertise even closer to audiences in digital environments. Wikipedia provides a vivid forum for engaging public interest in the stories within collections held in museums across the country. MLA is very pleased to support this initiative and welcomes the development of partnerships between museums and Wikimedia.”
Chair of Wikimedia UK, Michael Peel, said, “Museum collections hold a vast range of objects that have great cultural significance and enhance our knowledge of our origins but are not as well covered on Wikipedia as they deserve to be. With ‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’, we hope to increase the number of photographs on Wikipedia for the world to share, enjoy and learn from.”
The celebration begins at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Sunday 31st January from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm in the Sackler Centre; everyone is welcome to come along and take part. Short talks from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Wikimedia UK and the Collections Trust will take place at 11.30 am, accompanied by free tea, coffee, and refreshments, with plenty of time in the afternoon to explore the museum and photograph its collections!
Gail Durbin, Head of Online Museum at the Victoria and Albert Museum, said, “Britain Loves Wikipedia is an innovative way for amateur (or professional) photographers to make things in museums accessible to more people. We are delighted to be hosting Britain’s photography community at the kickoff event and look forward to seeing creative new images of our objects.”
Britain Loves Wikipedia then continues with:
* On the 6th/7th February, the Museum of Army Flying in Hampshire will be offering free entry to photographers as well as
free tea or coffee, and will be allowing flash and tripod photography.
* Nottingham Natural History Museum is hosting a “Britain Loves Wikipedia Day” on 11 February, where they will be bringing out a selection of biological and geological objects from their stores and making them available for photography in the museum’s Great Hall (situated in the main Wollaton Hall building.) Objects will include examples of taxidermy (reptiles, birds, mammals) skeletal material, and invertebrates from the biology collections, and various rocks, minerals and fossils from the geology collections. Booking is essential.
* The Manchester Museum is running “Darwin’s 201st Birthday Bash Big Saturday” on 13 February (book ahead or on the day); as part of this they will be making objects from their zoology, palaeontology, entomology, botany and geology collections available for photography in the Museum’s Resource Centre on the 3rd floor gallery.
* John Muir’s Birthplace and Preston Grange Museum will strike a romantic note for Valentines Day, hosting “East Lothian Photographers LOVE Wikipedia!” These host museums are opening up specially for photographers, and are providing a warm Scottish welcome with free tea and coffee to all participants, as well as tours and guides around the museums.
* Mill Green Museum will be running “Mill Green Loves Wikipedia” on the afternoon of 16 February – come along to explore the range of, and changes in, the working days of local people.
* Bedford Museum will be giving photographers the opportunity to see behind the scenes at thir stores on the 18 February, including a sneak preview their upcoming exhibition ‘Clocking-In’, an exhibition of the working day. Places are limited; booking is essential.
* On the 20th February, The British Postal Museum & Archive will open the doors of its Museum Store in Debden, Essex to photographers.
The British Postal Museum Store houses a variety of objects including letterboxes, telephone kiosks, postal vehicles, sorting machinery and the desk of Sir Rowland Hill (founder of the penny post). Refreshments will be available to participants and flash photography and tripods are welcome.
Throughout February, you can visit the following museums to take part in the Britain Loves Wikipedia competition:
* Astley Hall, Chorley
* Caithness Horizons, Thurso, Scotland
* Ceredigion Museum, Wales
* Horniman Museum, London
* Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland
* Museum of Army Flying, Stockbridge, Hampshire
* National Football Museum, Preston
* Old Operating Theatre, London
* Royal Air Force Museum, London and Cosford.
* Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum
* ThinkTank Birmingham
* Victoria and Albert Museum, London
* Working Class Movement Library, Salford
Prizes include a WikiReader – a copy of the entire English Wikipedia in your pocket. The best photograph from each RAF Museum site will receive £100 worth of goods from the Museum’s shop. The best photograph taken at The British Postal Museum & Archive’s Museum Store will receive a trio of DVD box sets celebrating the work of the acclaimed GPO Film Unit, valued at £75. More prizes will be announced at the launch event on the 31st January.
Britain Loves Wikipedia is organized by Wikimedia UK in collaboration with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Collections Trust, Culture 24 and Museums Galleries Scotland.
Full information is available at http://www.britainloveswikipedia.org/. An initial event in February 2009 at the Victoria and Albert created over 300 photographs now available on Wikipedia. In June 2009, Wiki Loves Art in The Netherlands created over 10,000 photographs taken at 46 Dutch museums.