Community

We see our local communities as active partners in the work of the museum and are working in collaboration with several community groups to create programmes at the museum that reflect those communities and their interests. We have also established a Community Advisory Group of local residents from a wide variety of backgrounds to help staff to make decisions about future programmes and ensure representation of communities at the Museum. Find out more about all of our Community projects below.

Bucks Heroes

Disability Community

Community Groups

Community Collections

Exhibitions and Events

Communities Online

Outreach

Bucks Heroes

Discover Bucks are working with under-served communities around Buckinghamshire to collate and curate stories from the local people and landscape. Bucks Heroes project is about celebrating ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things making them everyday heroes, who have contributed to the history of Bucks.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this project will collaborate with the local community to showcase our many heroes through exciting and unusual activities in the new Discover Bucks People gallery once opened later in 2021 and online. We are looking for local heroes and would love to hear your story or that of your family or friends. If you would like to nominate an individual from Bucks who is a local hero please get in touch with our Bucks Heroes Programme Manager on bucksheroes@discoverbucksmuseum.org.

We are also currently converting our ground floor temporary exhibition room into a flexible community and learning space to be used by schools, community groups and visitors while they go round the new galleries. 

The project will create a programme of gallery and online activities around the Bucks heroes themes, support community events and present a Bucks Heroes Exhibition in 2023. Watch this space for more news and What’s On for forthcoming events.

Disability Community

Blind and Visually Impaired

The museum offers Touch Tours for blind and visually impaired visitors. These tours are designed to allow visitors with some or no sight at all to feel objects and hear an audio description of the objects or artwork. Multisensory elements are often incorporated in tours to offer a range of experiences during the tour. To book your place, please check our What’s On page or contact us on community@discoverbucksmuseum.org to find out more.

Please note that due to conservation needs the light levels in some parts of the galleries have low lighting.

There are large print documents available in our Discover Bucks Gallery. Further documents can be printed in large print with enough notice

Audio guides about the history of the Georgian room are available from the ticket desk.

Visitors with Hearing Loss and British Sign Language Tours

Tours are offered for visitors with hearing loss a few times a year where possible. Past tours include Behind the Scenes Tour and Artist in Residence exhibition. Please contact community@discoverbucksmuseum.org for more information.

Hearing loops are available for visitors with hearing loss.  You will need to switch your hearing aid to a ‘T’ position. 

The video in the Discover Bucks Gallery includes subtitles.

Visitors with autism

Light levels vary in the museum, reception and walkways are well lit however some galleries have low lighting due to conservation needs.

Visitors can also request a child sized ear defender from reception. Noise levels in the Discover Bucks galleries when opened are likely to be quite high as there are a number of audio tracks, music and animal sounds

A Social Story will be available to download soon.

Community Groups

Community Advisory Group

The museum has a Community Advisory Group who meet regularly throughout the year to work with staff on programme ideas and representation ideas for displays. The group includes 10 people from local groups, representing the following communities: West Indian, Far Eastern, Pakistani, Muslim, Hindu, LGBTQ, Young people, White, Indian and people with disabilities. We always welcome new members to the group so we can be more representative in what we offer. Community Advisory Group members benefit from meeting curators and behind the scenes tours when possible. We would particularly like to hear from Polish, working class and Jewish communities.  If you would like to get involved, please email community@discoverbucksmuseum.org.

Bucks Black History Museum Group

As a result of some key black history onsite and online events recently, we have now established a specific group dedicated to Black History. This group has been formed to mark Black History in Bucks throughout the year,  not just in October and includes a network of professionals and members of the general public from all walks of life. It is a museum initiative to come together to identify and celebrate Black History together in Bucks county. To join the group contact community@discoverbucksmuseum.org.

Community Collections

Contemporary Collecting

Since 2018 the museum has actively looked for objects from the wider community that tell stories about their past and current life in the county. This is an opportunity for the Museum to capture lived experiences and ensure our collections are representative of the communities who live in Bucks.

Contemporary collecting is about collecting objects with stories. The stories can be as simple as I wore this dress to a Sikh wedding, or this is my old hearing aid.

Recent acquisitions to our collection include wedding shoes belonging to a local West Indian man who got married at a local church in Aylesbury; an LGBTQ badge made by a local queer artist, a diya cup that was used for the Hindu Festival of Diwali by a lady in Aylesbury; a talking book machine donated by a blind woman who reminisces how she used to listen to story books as a child and an Ihram donated by a Muslim man from Bucks who wore it on pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia with a deaf group. These examples all celebrate our cultures in Buckinghamshire and we are keen to continue our work in actively collecting objects and stories that represent different experiences not currently represented in our collections at the moment. Discover more.

If you have an object and story you would like to donate, pleases contact community@discoverbucksmuseum.org 

Exhibitions and events

Community Voices Labels

We feel it is important to include our communities in helping to create displays so we asked our Community Advisory Group to help write labels called Community Voices throughout our new Discover Bucks galleries. These labels will be changed regularly and are distinctly different to other object labels because they offer a different perspective to the object on display as interpreted by a member of the community. 

Community Exhibitions and Events

The museum frequently collaborates with community groups and in partnership with other organisations to deliver a series of events that represent heritage and culture.

Past Exhibitions and Events Representing the Community

Showcasing Islamic art, ceramics and textiles from the Muslim world as well as 15 Century Qur’ans and 21st Century Photography by Muslim photographer Peter Sanders.

Alongside the Art of Islam exhibition there was a programme of events over the 6 months the exhibition was open. This included workshops, talks and an Eid fayre.

This was a display in partnership with Nigerian Community Association Aylesbury (NCAA). The name Wozobia is derived from the three main languages spoken in Nigerian meaning ‘come’. The display included carved ebony heads.  

To celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali, the museum teamed up with Holy Cow Community and Aylesbury Town Council to create a programme of events such as, drama, dance, music, crafts, stalls and food.

Year 2018 marked the museum’s first ever Pride event which included drag acts, singing and comedy as well as objects from our collection, write your own label and make a LGBTQ badge. Repeated in 2019. 

In partnership with the Hindu Temple, the museum celebrated the Hindu festival of Holi. There was colour powder, food, crafts, lighting the candle and worship.

The museum curated a CommUnity Voices Exhibition representing over 11 communities from Bucks and beyond including, Disabled, LGBTQ, Refugees, Polish, Sikh and Autistic to name a few.

This event was in collaboration with the Aylesbury Mosque, inviting visitors to break fast together during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A series of talks and activities from a number of communities such as Indian Dhol Drummers, Buddhist chanting, learning to write your name in Arabic, witnessing to call to prayer, performance by a local SEN theatre group and hearing stories from some of our object loaners to the CommUnity Voices exhibition.

Eid at the museum included, poetry, Hats of faith workshop, Re-enactment of ancient Islamic history, storytelling and object handling.

To mark Black History month, the museum created a small display of wedding shoes which belonged to a local West Indian man. The story told his aspirations and journey to the UK as well as Windrush. You can still read the story under our Blog page.

Communities Online

2020 - Hanukkah Webinar

The Museum worked with South East Liberal Judaism to offer an online experience celebrating this Jewish Festival led by Rabbi Janes and Museum staff presented Studio Pottery made by Jewish artists and domestic objects belonging to the Rothschild Family.

2020 Black History Month Online event

Trustee Ann Alphonse worked with her local West Indian community to publish 9 blogs and one video in October 2020 on the Museum web site to highlight the contributions of the West Indian community to life in Bucks currently including successful lawyers and business partners, as well as highlighting the experiences of families who came to live in the UK from the West Indies. Discover more.

2021 - Missing Stories LGBTQ+ Webinar

Working jointly with Bucks Archives, the Museum presented our first LGBTQ History Month event on contemporary LGBTQ museum objects and archive stories on LGBTQ histories including a fascinating local story about two local doctors who lived and worked together, one of whom was the daughter of the famous pioneer female doctor Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Discover More.

Blog Spot

The museum website welcomes guest writers to talk about objects and stories from our museum collection. Blogs in the past have been written by a local trans woman about her artwork which she donated to our collection, a Jewish woman sharing her love for the museum garden and one of our trustees who celebrates the contributions of Black people to Bucks for Black History Month. Explore more.

Social Media

Check out our social media channels including YouTube where visitors can hear stories from community members about some of the objects they have donated to the museum, such as the talking book machine used by Blind people to listen to books and Diya cups used during the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Outreach

Cultural Outreach Group

Bucks Museum is hosting a project funded by the Rothschild Foundation to establish a Bucks Cultural Strategy and support local partners in developing their community and cultural outreach with their communities. The group has 8 partners and includes museums and heritage sites across Buckinghamshire to help them establish new engagement with audiences that do not ordinarily visit their site. It was established in 2018 and also offers a forum to share good practice in community engagement across Buckinghamshire.

Reminiscence Boxes

Reminiscence boxes are available to care homes and organisations working with elderly communities or people with dementia. These boxes include objects that can be handled and touched and are used to facilitate the sharing of memories. Within each box there are questions to prompt discussion around each object. Please email community@discoverbucksmuseum.org to find out about the boxes or to book a session.

Outreach Sessions

Our Museum community work includes visiting communities in the local areas and their events.  In the past the museum has taken part in the Bucks County Show, the Aylesbury Mosque Eid Fayre, Saturday Schools workshops, talks in county halls and meetings in community groups such as Deaf coffee mornings and places of worship. Sessions include displaying museum objects or delivering a workshop, talk or presentation for your group.

We can join your group virtually now by zoom so do get in touch if you would like to meet with our Community Outreach Officer on community@discoverbucksmuseum.org

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