Wor Life, the Discovery Museum's pop-up

The Discovery Museum, Newcastle

Sophie Mitchell, 15.01.2015
A pop-up market promotion
For two weeks in November, the Discovery Museum, part of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (Twam), created a pop-up in Newcastle’s Grainger Market.

The city centre market has an annual footfall of 7.3 million people and is managed by
Newcastle City Council.

The aim of the pop-up was to engage with the community and promote the Discovery Museum through Wor Life, our first world war project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We were given a large unit, which had been emptied of all fixtures and fittings. Due to our limited budget of £100 we didn’t have the option to create panels or signage, so we had to work with the space we had.

Luckily, the roughness of the interior worked with our first world war theme. We plastered the walls with recruitment posters, installed a sound booth and put museum objects on open display. We also provided chairs and tables with leaflets and promotional material for Wor Life and the Discovery Museum’s other programmes.

We used the space mainly to talk and listen to people. This was the perfect opportunity to hear about family stories from the first world war, and it meant a great deal to people to be able to share these.

We also found some amazing Tyneside stories, which would otherwise never have been told (especially to museum staff) as the people sharing the stories would not normally visit the museum.

Tales included stories of bravery, prisoners of war, deaths, love stories, family tragedies and humour interlinked with our familiar Tyneside geography and industrial history.

The majority of those we spoke to were older people shopping at the market, who knew where the Discovery Museum was and passed it regularly but did not go inside, so the pop-up was an opportunity to reintroduce the museum to many of the city’s residents.

Sophie Mitchell is a community engagement officer at Twam