29 February 2012
The Museum of London is to open a gallery reinvented by young people for the very first time.
Opening in time for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Our Londinium 2012 is the largest update to the Museum’s Roman gallery since it opened in 1996. The revamped gallery will launch on 22 June 2012. Our Londinium 2012 is part of London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme Stories of the World, supported by Arts Council England.
Our Londinium 2012 updates the Roman gallery with parallels between Roman London and the city today. The installations range from multimedia displays to rarely seen Roman artefacts. The most important object being a bust of Hadrian found on the Thames foreshore, now in the British Museum’s collection. The bust will be on show for six months and then replaced by a replica. In addition modern objects will help to demonstrate the similarities and differences between Londinium and London. These include decorative nails from fashionable Dalston nail bar WAH Nails to show how the Londoners of today and Roman times express identity through fashion. In addition, ‘V for Vendetta’ masks worn by protesters in the Occupy movement and protest placards from the recent ‘March for the Alternative’ examine issues of power and authority, past and present.
The young people curating the exhibition are part of ‘Junction’, the Museum of London’s youth panel. Members of Junction, which is composed of 50 young people aged 16 to 21, worked closely with Museum of London staff to choose objects, write text panels, commission artworks and even appoint Olly Gibbs, the illustrator responsible for the exhibition’s visual identity. Other installations within Our Londinium 2012 are the result of specific community projects with young people from partner organisations that include a pupil referral unit, an adolescent mental health unit, an organisation that works with unemployed young people and a young offenders unit.
Building upon the Museum of London’s long history of community collaboration, this is the first time the Museum has applied a collaborative approach to an archaeology display. Following Our Londinium 2012, Junction will continue working with the Museum of London to input into the development of future exhibitions and galleries.
Lucie Fitton, Inclusion Manager at the Museum of London and co-curator of Our Londinium 2012, said
“Many visitors to the Museum of London want to know what Roman London was really like. Was it very different from London today or more similar than we imagine? The answer is a bit of both and that’s what’s great about Our Londinium 2012; as Junction will tell you it’s a fun, engaging way to find this out. Take food for example, Roman era Londoners ate local, organic food just like the growing trend today. They also ate fast food too, but for very different reasons than we do today like the lack of domestic cooking facilities. Diversity is another example. The range of languages and belief systems in Londinium was not dissimilar from modern London, but the question prevails about whether London has become more or less tolerant of the differences. This and many more topics are discussed in Our Londinium 2012 and I’m confident that all the visitors to the gallery will enjoy discovering more.”
David Spence, Museum of London’s Director of Programmes, said:
“Our Londinium 2012 is an impressive project, every single member of Junction should be proud of their achievement. It also represents something more important about the function of a modern museum and the role it can play within a community. At a time when young people are struggling to find jobs, Junction illustrates how the Museum of London is providing value to the wider community. Not only do the members of Junction get a hands-on experience of what it is like to work in a museum, they are able to develop transferable skills such as writing, research and team work which are essential for any job today. To know that at least two young people who have participated in the scheme have been offered full time jobs as a result of their participation is a great testament to the project.”
Notes to Editors
1. For more information or images, please contact Andrew Marcus, PR Manager, on 07725 617865 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. For further information about the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad please contact Paul Woodmansey at the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100 or email@example.com Find out the latest from London 2012 HQ on their blog at http://blog.london2012.com or follow them on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/london2012
3. Museum of London, Museum of London Docklands and Museum of London Archaeology seek to inspire a passion for London. The Museums are open daily 10am – 6pm and are FREE to all.
4. Explore the Museum of London with Collections online - home to over 12,000 objects with more being added.
5. Follow the Museum of London on Twitter http://twitter.com/museumoflondon and facebook http://www.facebook.com/museumoflondon
6. London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme, Stories of the World, presents exciting new museum exhibitions across the UK, created by young people. The project is led by Arts Council England in partnership with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
7. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, it will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £0.85 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. The Arts Council has been closely involved in the development of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme since the bid stage. Its significant investment in a nationwide programme of events aims to increase participation in the arts; profile our artists on an international stage and showcase the UK as a world-leading cultural destination; as well as creating the lasting legacy of a strengthened cultural sector. With its unparalleled offer of national, regional and local projects across a range of art forms, the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival programme will be a global event with enormous potential to help deliver Arts Council England’s mission of great art for everyone.