Launch and Celebration Event 23/07/15

Last Thursday, we launched three more pop up museums created by local adult community groups and regional artists. Since January, we have been documenting our groups’ creative journeys, recording each artist session here on the blog. Our participants have put in so much time and effort, producing very diverse ideas along the way, which have resulted in three very unique pop up museums.

‘Only in Blackpool’ by Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild and Costumologists

Only in Blackpool explores the Blackpool Tower and it’s entertainment heritage from 1950 onwards. The museum’s main structure is the Tower itself, surrounded by a variety of visuals symbolising it’s history. This includes the roof top garden, the circus and the more controversial history including an escapologist who married his partner suspended 400 ft off the Tower in 1985. The pop up museum captures embroidery and textiles with it’s beautiful sewn panels depicting the circus created by Costumologists and it’s beautifully embroidered flags, made by the members of the Embroiderers’ Guild. The pop up museum interprets the entertainment heritage unique to Blackpool Tower and unique to Blackpool, aptly titled ‘Only in Blackpool’.

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Only in Blackpool Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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The beautiful detail on the side panels of the pop up museum. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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More beautiful detail – egg shaped Pauls Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Elephants on the beach and a wedding on the Tower! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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The exquisitely embroidered flag, created by the Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

‘Blackpool Cabinet of Curiosities’ by Blackpool Inspirations and Alastair Price

Blackpool’s entertainment heritage takes many forms. Blackpool Inspirations and Alastair Price chose to explore the very quirky Blackpool, looking at sideshows and some of the eccentric characters Blackpool has been home to. This ranges from the lovable clown Charlie Cairoli to the more risque side show character ‘two tonne Alice’. The museum uses gentle humour to explore Blackpool stars’ lives, deaths and antics and is presented in a wonderful sideshow style cabinet of curiosities. Built to draw the visitor in, the museum is very interactive and wonderfully intriguing.

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Blackpool Cabinet of Curiosities. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Lots of things to explore in this pop up museum! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Exploring the lives of Blackpool characters… Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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…Including Two Tonne Alice! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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The cabinet is accompanied by a traditional Blackpool sideshow speiler and his glamorous assistant. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

‘The Game of Blackpool’ by Claremont First Step and Reet So

The fun side of Blackpool is well and truly captured in this entertaining guessing game created by Claremont First Step and Reet So. The game covers a broad spectrum of Blackpool entertainment, from the Illuminations to Punch and Judy. It educates each player, encouraging them to pick up a scratch card and guess what aspect of Blackpool they have been given from the clues provided. The visitor must find their clues by exploring the museum and make their guess before scratching the panel off to reveal if they were correct. The Game of Blackpool is highly interactive with lots of elements thought up by the group, including the themes and the use of charades. The group also contributed to the making of the museum, creating bingo balls and Punch and Judy accessories.

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One half of the Game of Blackpool. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Lots of things to explore and play around with! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Lots of recognisable faces and objects! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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A highly interactive pop up museum, guaranteed to enthuse the visitor. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Photograph by Claire Griffiths

These three fascinating pop up museums made their first appearance last Thursday. As well as launching the museums, we celebrated the work that has gone into creating them. Before the afternoon public appearance, we hosted a viewing for participants and stakeholders. This was a very successful event where the groups involved had the opportunity to see the outcome of their artist sessions and those linked with the project got to see the pop up museums and learn more about the project.


Val, a particpant from Claremont First Step with her Punch and Judy creations on ‘The Game of Blackpool’. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Emma and Kerry from the Blackpool Museum Project enjoying the Blackpool Cabinet of Curiosities. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


The museums are very appealing to the younger audience as well as the older. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Members of Blackpool inspirations with their pop up museum. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Blackpool Museum Curator, Emma and our Community Heritage Assistant, Beth enjoying the Charlie Cairoli and Paul glove puppets, part of Only in Blackpool. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Alastair Price explaining the gadgets on the Cabinet of Curiosities to it’s visitors. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Janet, one of the participants from Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild turning the gold dancers on the Wurlitzer automata. Photograph by Matthew Wright.

Our new pop up museums will be ‘popping up’ in the next few months at various events and venues. Our next event is the Museum in the Making event for the Blackpool Museum Project. This will be taking place on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th August, 11am – 4pm in the Horseshoe and Pavilion Theatre at The Winter Gardens.

Thank you to photographer Claire Griffiths and photographer and Heritage Champion Matthew Wright for the use of their images.


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Dragon’s Den event 18/06/15

Last Thursday, our three adult community groups working on the Treasure Trove project joined us for a consultation event themed around the tv programme, Dragon’s Den. The groups got together to explore and discuss their artists’ final designs for the pop up museums. This was followed by a presentation by each group to the other two groups, the Treasure Trove team and a few other audience members consisting of various individuals associated with the project. Although the presentations were not made to four ‘dragons’ and all feedback was kept positive and constructive, the groups were asked to pitch their ideas as though to a new audience and sell their pop up museum idea to us.

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Beautiful bunting made by Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild for their pop up museum ‘Only in Blackpool’.

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After introductions and around 30 minutes discussion time, the groups were allocated a 15 minute slot for their presentations and feedback. Each group gave a very clear and concise presentation of ideas, themes and their artists’ final designs. Our extra audience members were very impressed with the ideas and the effort that had gone into the process of creating the pop up museums. They provided some great feedback for our groups.

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We finished the event with a buffet lunch for our participants and a chance to mingle and reflect on the event and the project as a whole. We also had Anthony from CLC Media filming for us. The footage will be a part of our summary video at the end of this part of the project. To see our summary video for the Young Peoples’ part of the project completed last year, please click here.

Thank you to all our groups for taking part in the event and thank you for those who joined us and provided constructive feedback for the groups and artists.


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Pride Festival 2015

We were excited to be a part this year’s Blackpool Pride Festival over the weekend, exhibiting two of our pop up museums in the Arts and Heritage Exhibition area at The Winter Gardens.

On both Saturday and Sunday we had ‘Blackpool Performers’ and ‘Hitting the Deck’ on display for visitors to come and explore. There was a lot of interest shown in Blackpool’s Treasure Trove and we were on hand to chat to visitors about the project and the work that has been achieved so far with all our community groups.


Hitting the Deck and Blackpool Performers – pop up museums

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We got a positive response from our visitors and various groups of people approached to have a play about with the dressing up items on Blackpool Performers. There was also lots of interest in the historical interpretation on both museums and of course their visual appeal, eye catching to many visitors from across the room.

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The festival itself was very lively, with lots of wonderful entertainment and interesting stalls and exhibits. Our pop up museums were situated next to another fabulous exhibition space, a photography exhibition called ‘Inside Out’ by Red Snapper Photography.

We hope those that attended Pride had a fantastic weekend!


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Only in Blackpool, the final session!

Our final creative session with Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild and artists, Costumologists was filled with ideas for the final look of their pop up museum, which the group have been working on since January. At our last session, Only in Blackpool – developing content, the artists had created a blank canvas for the group to add possible content to. The pop up museum, named ‘Only in Blackpool’ will take the form of Blackpool Tower and will interpret tower heritage from 1950 to present day – heritage that is unique to Blackpool. At our session yesterday, Costumologists had produced another blank canvas, this time with a backdrop and surrounding area. Each member of the group was given a piece of content developed at our last session and worked individually on how this could be interpreted and created on the pop up museum. The content ranged from the Wurlitzer, to crocodiles (!) and after a few minutes deliberation each person gave feedback on the ideas they had come up with. There was a lot of discussion on interactive elements for the museum and how visitors will approach the pop up museum.



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As part of the pop up museum, the embroiderers are creating bunting which will come off the tower. Each embroiderer will create their own flag, the theme being Blackpool Tower. The group brought in five flags that have already been completed and how wonderfully different they were! They will be a fabulous addition to Only in Blackpool!


The beautiful bunting flags made by the Embroiderers.


Yesterday proved another very creative session, brimming with ideas and a great finish to the Embroiderers’ artist sessions. Thank you to Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild and Costumologists for all their hard work on the project.

We will be seeing all the groups again at a Dragon’s Den style event we have organised for a few weeks time. This will give the groups the opportunity to see the artists’ final designs for the pop up museums and present their pop up museum idea to the other groups. We look forward to seeing everyone in a few weeks and seeing those all important final designs!


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Claremont and Reet So – development of the final idea (part two)

Claremont First Step and artists, Reet So have now completed all their creative sessions on the journey to create a pop up museum. On Monday the group met for the last time to pull together final ideas and focus on the design of the museum.

As we had more members of the group at this session, Reet So began by playing the basic mock up of the pop up museum which was introduced at our previous session. The museum will take the form of a guessing game, for which the visitor will get two clues (a fact, object, charade or sound) to guess an area of Blackpool entertainment heritage.


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During the last session, development of the final idea (part one), the group looked at content and the layout of the museum, concentrating on how the museum will function. This week the task was to explore colours, type and design the group liked. This was achieved using archive material from Blackpool Central Library to inspire and motivate the group. Reet So had chosen a poster and a leaflet/brochure from each decade from 1950 onwards and the group were asked to pick out their favourites, what they found pleasing and what wasn’t so appealing. Each poster was then looked at by the whole group and feedback given by individuals on their preferences. The dates of each poster/brochure was covered up so the group could guess the decade. The likes and dislikes were documented and will be taken into consideration towards the final designs which will be created by the artists in the next few weeks.

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Thank you to our group at Claremont First Step and our artists, Reet So, for their hard work during the project. We look forward to seeing the outcome!

Also, thank you to the Local and Family History Library at Blackpool Central Library for the loan of the beautiful posters and brochures from their collection!


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YAH session five…

Last Thursday, we had a very different session with Young at Heart and artist, Alastair Price, as we went exploring Blackpool stars and comedians… at Carleton Cemetery. The group have been looking at ideas around Blackpool cinema, films, stars and sideshows and the research done at our last session, YAH development session part two – the archives, revealed lots of weird and wonderful performances of various kinds. Previous conversations between the group about local performers and performers that resided in Blackpool have led to ideas around having their graves (with being in Blackpool) as a slightly dark but quirky part of the museum.

Last week we made the trip over to the cemetery where Alastair had researched particular graves for the group to find. The group had a look at some very different graves, from Arthur Worsley who’s grave was very subtle with just a cement flower pot and no inscription, to Norman Evans, who’s grave was a small wall reflecting on his famous act, ‘over the garden wall’. Norman Evans’ grave is a great example of a Blackpool performer wanting to be remembered by his daft acts in death, and out of death comes some some positivity and a little comedy. At each grave, a member of the group read a blurb about the artist’s life and death.



Norman Evans, his last garden wall


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We look forward to seeing how the group bring their ideas together, including this very unique element at their final session this week.


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Only in Blackpool – developing content

Last Wednesday, Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild and artists, Costumologists completed their fifth and penultimate creative session. This session was focused around content and the stories the pop up museum will tell. Aptly name ‘Only in Blackpool’, the museum will take the form of Blackpool Tower and will interpret an array of Tower related entertainment heritage unique to Blackpool. At the last session, Embroiderers’ Guild session 4 – The Tower rejuvenated, lots of ideas had come together and the Tower design was created. The idea involved four areas of the Blackpool Tower entertainment heritage on each side of the tower, interpreting the old through to the new. A rejuvenator! During session five, it was decided that all four sides of the tower would be too much in terms of content and the content previously discussed must be whittled down. In order to achieve this, Costumologists had created a blank tower made out of card. A blank canvas for the group to add one piece of content they liked. The group used imagery, some of which from the archive and produced drawings and words to communicate the content they would like to include. The outcome was a fabulous mix of ideas against the Blackpool Tower background.

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During the session, the group made references to the Museum of Liverpool trip and more recently our visit to Museum of Lancashire and areas they enjoyed. There have also been reoccurring memories/visuals throughout the sessions, one in particular being the elephants (from the circus) on the beach. Some of the areas explored could be seen as slightly risque in a modern world – all these elements equally compliment the ‘Only in Blackpool’ title.

From the beginning of the project, the Embroiderers’ Guild have always been interested in being a part of building the museum. This would be in the beautiful form of embroidery. Towards the end of the session, the group deliberated what part of the museum could be embroidered. The original idea was a backdrop, but a this could prove difficult with each embroiderer completing their own segment. In the end, bunting was decided on with each embroiderer completing a flag each. After further deliberations on design, the final decision was that each group member will embroider their representation of the Tower. This will fit in fantastically well with the Tower theme and give the museum a real unique edge.

Our next session will involve looking more at the design of the museum and will complete the creative sessions for Embroiderers’ Guild and Costumologists.


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Claremont and Reet So – development of the final idea (part one)

Yesterday, Claremont First Step and artists, Reet So met for their fifth session on their journey to create a pop up museum. Our last session was over a month ago and so this session involved a recap of what the group have been working towards and further discussions on how the museum should work. The pop up museum will take the form of a guessing game, with clues ranging from facts, to objects. The visitor will have the opportunity to explore these in order to make their guess. At our last session, the group had individually worked on the Blackpool entertainment categories they had chosen during one of our February sessions, What a Charade!, exploring possible words, objects, sounds and charades that could be connected to that particular theme.


The ten categories for the pop up museum, selected by Claremont.

To begin the session yesterday, Reet So produced a basic mock up of how the game would work. This was to check how the group responded to the game and to get them thinking how it could be expanded and if necessary, improved. The reaction was positive, but as some group members were unable to attend yesterday, they will get the opportunity to have a go next week and share their opinions.


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An example of the clues (sound and object) for The Grand Theatre.

The next part of the session involved a group discussion on the finer details of the pop up museum. For example, looking at how the clues should be displayed in terms of scale and layout, looking into possible difficulty ratings for the categories and how the visitor will find out if they have got their answer right or wrong. In order to get the group thinking, the artists presented some examples of innovative design for inspiration and some great ideas were suggested as a result.




Creative thinking on the finer details of the pop up museum.


We hope to expand on this further next week when the group will have their final session. Reet So plan to get the group looking at design – colour, imagery, type etc, as well as building on what was established at yesterday’s session.


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YAH development session part two – the archives!

Members of our Young at Heart group continued developing ideas for their pop up museum at an archive session on Monday with local historian and family history librarian, Tony Sharkey. Tony had prepared archive material from the Cyril Critchlow collection and various newspaper cuttings and books on the subject areas the group have been looking at. This includes Blackpool cinemas and film stars, side shows and films shot in Blackpool. The latter could be interesting as a Tim Burton film is about to be shot here next week and preliminary coverage could be included if the ideas develop in that direction.



The group explored the material, discussing how the ideas could become a pop up museum. It was decided that Blackpool cinemas alone wouldn’t be exciting enough for a pop up museum, but this could go alongside other ideas and create something based around performance, film and theatre.

The group enjoyed looking through the side show archive, which could be an interesting direction. They have also previously discussed looking at stars that lived in Blackpool and where they are buried. As this information is available to the public online, the group are interested in going to have a look at some of the gravestones which could be the basis of our next session. We currently have lots of weird and wonderful ideas, that could turn into a very different and quirky pop up museum!


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