The Bristol At Home project

Posted on by Fay Curtis.

The #BristolAtHome project aims to get everyone in Bristol involved in recording our lives today and making them part of the museum collection for the future.

Many people think of museums as places which collect and look after objects from the past. This is certainly an important part of our work at Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives.

The Public History collection is full of objects and photographs which record what life was like in Bristol over the last 200 years or so. Lots of items from the collection can be seen at Blaise Castle House Museum, M Shed and through browsing our online collections.

But what about life in Bristol today? We want to make sure that we’re collecting objects and photographs now which will be interesting and useful to generations of Bristolians in the future.

How will the project work?

Each month, we’ll choose a new theme and announce it on Blaise Castle House Museum’s Twitter. People can then tweet a picture on the theme, using the hashtag #BristolAtHome. Easy!

What will we do with the photos?

We want to make some of the photos part of the Public History collection, so that they can be used for exhibitions and historical research in the future. In order to do this, we need the person who took the photo to give us copyright of the image. If we want to put your photo into the collection, we will send you a direct message asking for your permission. Please reply to this, so that we can make your photo part of the museum collection forever!

Why should you get involved?

Mainly, because we think it will be fun! We’re really excited to have a peek into the lives of people in Bristol today.

It’s also really important the museums’ collections continue to grow so that they can be relevant and useful for local people in the future. There are not many photographs of normal people’s everyday life in the past. Most pictures are of people in their best clothes, posing in an unnatural way. These are interesting, but wouldn’t it be brilliant to also be able to see what their front room looked like and what they had for dinner? Through this project, people in the future will be able to get a glimpse of exactly how we lived in Bristol today.

Over the last few years, museums have been thinking more about how to reflect contemporary life. But as far as we know, this is the first project to use social networks to actually collect photographs which will be kept by the museum. This is pioneering work – get involved!

The first theme is…

…Your living room. Tweet a photo of how your living room looks today – drying washing, children’s toys and all! Make sure you include the hashtag #BristolAtHome so that we don’t miss your picture.

Helen McConnell, Collections Officer – Public History

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