Working with Prisons
In May 2006 the newly refurbished Egyptian galleries opened to the public. The curator is now working on a project to allow wider access to this resource in the form of a virtual version of the galleries.
Since 2003 the Department of Antiquities has been working with a number of prisons throughout England. Sally-Ann Ashton, a specialist in Egyptology, has stimulated an interest in Africa by bringing her knowledge of ancient Egypt into prisons throughout England, working closely with prisoners and prison education departments. The prisoners’ very positive response to this intervention has led to the development of these projects. They will draw on Sally-Ann Ashton’s subject knowledge and the collections of the Fitzwilliam Museum and involve further consultation with prisoners to develop educational resources. Importantly the resources will be available, eventually, to a wider public. Thus we will combine specialist knowledge with specific cultural experiences to provide learning opportunities and methodologies adapted to those unable to visit museum but of value for much wider application.
Currently we are engaged in three pilot projects:
- Virtual gallery and African centred Egyptology funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund 'Your Heritage' grant scheme and Renaissance
- 'Changing Times' (literacy skills) in partnership with HMP Edmunds Hill, Suffolk and The Imperial War Museum at Duxford
- Egyptian culture and Art. Using museum collections to enhance art classes
Click the following link to see art work produced at HMP Edmunds Hill in 2007.
The specific aims of the projects are:
- To encourage ownership of cultural heritage, in particular for Black and North African prisoners, who have a direct link with ancient Egypt through their own cultural roots.
- To create a point of contact with the outside world for long term prisoners and to present a means of sharing culture and knowledge obtained through contact with a specialist Egyptologist with families and friends upon release for short term prisoners.
- To provide first-hand knowledge of Egypt and sustainable resources for teaching, general interest and learning tools for prison education.
The content and progress of the project will be monitored and evaluated with reports pasted periodically on this website.
These projects are part of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s aims as identified in the Statement of Purpose: to make available information on the collections in various media through publications, press, publicity and electronic means, to encourage the use of the collections for research and teaching, to promote the Museum and its services to wider audiences and to devise educational programmes and other special events for differing audiences