The AHI conference is an annual highlight for many members as the place to renew acquaintances and be inspired. But why wait twelve months for the chance to meet up?
Following earlier visits to York and Hull, the AHI North group is now programming regular events on both sides of the Pennines.
In November, the team at Bolton Museum and their designers, Core, gave AHI North a tour of their recent redisplay, which has transformed visitors’ experience of the museum. Our guides were generous with insights into their interpretive approach, and honest where compromises had been made. The main draw for our visit was the Egyptian galleries, but the AHI group also found inspiration throughout the museum, from the ‘Faces of Bolton’ drawing visitors upstairs to the considered prioritising of audience needs over museum conventions.
Bolton’s imaginative interpretive approach continues beyond their capital project. We had a sneak preview of the Christmas display with its advent calendar of museum objects, and saw the latest temporary exhibition making the periodic table more entertaining than any chemistry lesson ever achieved.
As at conference, there was time built in for conversations over lunch, and for those with shorter return journeys, a tour of Bolton’s industrial heritage and some elusive street art.
The next Interpretation Journal will reveal more of what inspired us in Bolton. Meanwhile we’re planning the next two visits. Hold the proposed dates for Manchester on Friday 28 February, and the North York Moors on Friday 26 June. More details soon.
Any members are welcome to join the next AHI North visits. If you’d like early notice and to contribute ideas or preferred dates, please contact Sue Latimer on SueLatimer03@gmail.com
And if you’re reading this and thinking it would be nice, but…, here’s feedback from the Bolton visit that might inspire you to join AHI North or create your own local group:
‘It’s invaluable to get out and see examples of best practice. We’re so busy nowadays that we struggle to allow ourselves to take time out for professional development. The Bolton trip has already begun to inform ideas and approaches in my work so taking one day out is already reaping rewards.’
Photo: AHI North in the Egyptian tomb