With a grant from Arts Council England’s ‘Museum Resilience Fund’, the Long Shop is now going full steam ahead with a vibrant and wide-ranging new project entitled ‘Making it Work’ in order to celebrate engineering and creativity, build audiences and engage the local community.
There will be a busy season ahead as this multi-faceted scheme builds on the fascinating industrial heritage of the former Leiston Works in which the museum is housed; once the life force of the town and the world’s first purpose-built workshop for assembly line production. The project is aimed at schools, families, enthusiasts, locals and visitors alike and will develop new outreach as well as museum-based activities including small-scale interactive ‘prototype’ displays to help interpret and celebrate science, technology, engineering, making and innovation.
To align with the museum’s focus on education the site is working with Leiston and Benhall Primary Schools to develop prototype STEM models and displays using National Curriculum topics such as Electricity and Materials, though some of the learning-based programme will take place during the holidays with various hands-on activities and family drop-in days. There will also be a series of Workshops Wednesdays developed for family visitors which begin on 6th April 2016 with ‘Magic Materials’, followed by ‘Luminous Light and Super Sound’ on 27th July and ‘ Fantastic Forces’ on 10th August. Check out the What’s On pages for more information.
As part of the project, the museum is also working in partnership with Leiston Forward to deliver the Men’s Shed programme; a series of community workshops for retired men which brings them together for unique activities such as the restoration of the Garrett Portable Engine. This is a rewarding way to engage with and help raise the profile of the works’ history, legacy and collections.
The summer will be packed with a range of family activities including a specially programmed Museums at Night Event titled “Freaky Forensics”. For one night only the museum will hold a range of detective themed activities for all the family from fingerprinting to learning all about the grisly world of Victorian Poisons and Potions!
And to continue championing the tradition of innovation and creativity which has flourished in Leiston for more than 200 years, the museum will be hosting a “Marvellous Makers Fair” (aka “Made in Suffolk”) during August Bank Holiday Weekend to highlight the dynamism, skill and creativity of all the participants through a range of Suffolk Craft and handmade stalls and activities.