I joined the Museum of Croydon as the Museum and Archive manager over six months ago during which the museum has taken a completely different approach to its exhibition planning.
With a focus on community-led programming (asking our communities what they’d like and offering free exhibitions to match) we’ve seen a significant increase in visitors, and a wider audience enjoying this free heritage offer for all Croydon residents. We’ve seen exhibitions such as:
- ‘Coming Home’, a portrait of Stormzy and his mum loaned by the National Portrait Gallery, which was complimented by an installation by contemporary Thornton Heath artist, Pins.
- During Croydon Pride season, a group show ‘Bold’ led by Mark Goldby which looked into the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
- Windrush exhibition led by All Islands Together. The museum opened its doors (and display cases) entirely to a community to lend their own objects and tell their own stories.
Community-led programming is clearly the way to go, so we’ve invited our Croydon communities and artists to help us take this into 2020 for an epic year of community takeovers. We’re opening up Croydon Clocktower to a year of exhibitions and activities all led by Croydon’s very own artists, community groups and organisations. We’re also looking for opportunities to take the museum out, beyond the Clocktower, and across the borough, as well as trialling our first Museum Late – watch this space!
This community-led programme is a real chance for us to understand our current and future audiences. We know Croydon is incredibly diverse and we want the amazing stories and histories that encapsulate our borough to be a huge part of it, and this is where you come in.
By getting involved in the Big Conversation and telling us what you feel is missing from Croydon’s current cultural offer you’re helping us to understand more about what people want from this amazing cultural landmark.
Please take the time to complete the survey and help us shape our future programme. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.