The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford has won a £1.05 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue its £1.6 million VERVE (Visitors, Engagement, Renewal, Visibility and Enrichment) programme. This involves extensive conservation on the collection, improvement of displays and numerous activities with the public. According to the museum’s director the grant will also allow the museum to recruit staff for a series of new initiatives.
An important part of the VERVE programme is to study the importance of human creativity in the design and technology of the artefacts in its collection. Another is to involve the public more closely with all aspects of the museum, whether as visitors, artisans, students or volunteers.
The Pitts Rivers Museum, which houses Oxford University’s collection of anthropology and archaeology, also runs a series of exhibitions such as We Bury Our Own, which runs until 3 January. This shows the work of one of Australia’s leading contemporary Aboriginal artists Christian Thompson, now studying at Oxford University. His work in inspired by the museum’s 19th-century photo portraits from Australia, which he has placed in a contemporary Oxford setting.
His exhibition coincides with a major Australian university research project into the significance of colonial photography on indigenous communities and the repatriation of Aboriginal photographs from Europe to Australia.