Sat in MUSA yesterday I heard something I’d love to hear more often. The words, from two young boys, “But Dad, I don’t want to go home!” Fantastic, I thought. Why doesn’t everyone say that?
MUSA is full of exciting objects from the University’s history. Each one has its own story; many were made by someone, some were used for eating, some were worn, some were played with, some were used to celebrate academic or sporting victories, possibly held aloft as the triumphant recipient punched the air. Many have been linked with laughter, others with tears and some with struggles and frustrations. Have you ever wondered how past users felt as you look at an object? I know I often do.
Sadly, these emotions and events aren’t always obvious when you’re looking at the object in a display case. We want to tell these stories, we want our visitors to see the human side of the collections and even get excited by them, sometimes we succeed in doing this and sometimes we don’t – we’re human too!
Hopefully the use of objects will become clear during the October school holidays. From Monday 18 until Friday 29 October (but only on weekdays!) between 11am and 4pm visitors will have the chance to consider the big picture of how the items on display were used, the big picture of the University’s history and take part in creating a big picture with other visitors to the museum. We’ve called the event St Andrews: The Big Picture (funny that) and it’s part of a range of goings-on across the country as part of the Big Draw.
Visitors to the museum will have the chance to pick an object on display, think about how it might have been used at a particular moment in the past and draw it on our Big Picture to create a “Bayeux Tapestry” of the University’s history which will then be displayed in the Learning Loft. You might want to draw a mace being made or a mace being used in a 21st century graduation. You might want to draw a petrified student sitting his oral exam on the blackstone or a confident student strutting around the town in a red gown. You could draw the first female student receiving her LLA (Lady Literate in Arts) certificate or James Gregory observing the stars with his telescope.
You can let your imagination run wild, you can explore the fascinating objects on display and most importantly, you can be part of something BIG! You can drop in whenever you like – there’s no need to book – and hopefully I’ll see lots of you there who don’t want to leave.