Museums in Stevenage, Hitchin and Ashwell get set for Museum Selfie Day

Stevenage museum staff L-R senior museum assistant Jill Wandsworth, volunteer development officer Em

Stevenage museum staff L-R senior museum assistant Jill Wandsworth, volunteer development officer Emma Hodges, curator Jo Ward and project manager for talking towns Grete Dalum-Tilds take a selfie to promote museum selfie day on the 20th January - Credit: Archant

A social media celebration of what museums have to offer is back tomorrow, and Stevenage’s heritage team is getting in on the act.

Museum Selfie Day – which will be held for the third time tomorrow, January 20 – is one of a string of global projects which aim to harness modern technology to make people more aware of their past, and where they can find out more.

Among those determined to play their part are the team at Stevenage Museum, who are looking forward to a busy year at their base in St George’s Way after overcoming the challenges posed by last year’s disastrous flood.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Stevenage’s designation as a new town, and there are lots of events on the drawing board to mark that milestone.

But first the town is joining forces with museums all over the world for the selfie day event, during which curating staff as well as visitors are invited to post a selfie shot on social media, showing them in front of or inside the museum, or even with an exhibition.

The popular idea was the brainwave of museum blogger Mar Dixon, who has been responsible for a number of innovative ideas aimed at blowing the dust off the popular image of museums large and small as dry and serious places.

She said: “The aim is to celebrate the fun side of culture and museums through a specific trend every month, encouraging visits to museums and art collections through social media.”

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Andy Gibbs, curator of the British Schools Museum in Hitchin, said they are planning to take part despite being closed until halfway through February. To juxtapose the event with the museum’s new exhibition on miniatures, the selfies will be ‘taken’ by a Cinderella figurine and tweeted out throughout the day.

Peter Greener, curator of the Ashwell Village Museum, said that Duke of Edinburgh Award students working at the museum intend to support the scheme.

North Herts District Council, which is still working on the North Hertfordshire Museum in Hitchin, also intends to mark the occasion.

Councillor Tony Hunter, the district council’s executive member for community engagement, said: “Museum staff will be posting selfies showing themselves in the new museum, sorting out the objects to go on display in the new showcases and archives to go in the new local studies room.”

The North Herts Museum, under construction in Brand Street beside the town hall, will replace the old Hitchin and Letchworth museums.

Royston Museum curator Jenny Oxley, who will also be supporting the project, said: “The aim of is to raise the profile of museums of all sizes on Twitter.

“Increasingly museums are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media to raise their profiles and spread the word about what they do.

“We are no different, it helps us to reach new audiences who might not naturally think that museums are for them, and also enables us to connect with other museums.”