Outreach at the Museum

01 March 2023

The Clockmakers' Charity has recently appointed a new Museum Outreach and Learning Officer Andrew Canter.

Here he tells of the latest initiative, object handling sessions:

I’m sure you all know that the Clockmakers’ Museum is a truly wonderful place to view some of the oldest and most important clocks and watches anywhere in the world. However, it has now transformed into a place where visitors can now handle an array of objects including; antique clocks; watches; a sundial; and watch and clockmaking tools. In my role as the Outreach and Learning Officer of the Clockmakers’ Museum, I am keen to ensure that we continue to inspire the next generation of watch and clockmakers and encourage new visitors to the museum.

Having conducted many tours in the Clockmakers’ Museum, I have had the pleasure of welcoming a broad range of visitors and interacted with clock and watch enthusiasts, young and old(er) from across the globe. Unsurprisingly, a significant proportion of the visitors are groups from schools and other academic institutions. Although thousands of school children visit the Clockmakers’ Museum, they tend to be on the ‘object hunt’ to find an item that is over 100-years old. Once they have ‘ticked the box’ they leave the gallery at speed!

I discussed this at length with the Clockmakers’ Museum Curator, Anna Rolls, and we have worked closely with the Volunteer Team at the Science Museum, to develop the Object Handling initiative to keep school children engaged by highlighting the wonderful objects that tell the story of time, but in a way that shows them how clocks and watches work. Of course, this is not just for school children, but everyone that visits the Clockmakers’ Museum.

This resulted in the recruitment of 16 new volunteers from the local community, and 9 current volunteers who already run other sessions around the Science Museum. As of 2nd March, a total of 20 shifts have already been signed up for from a total of 13 volunteers. In the two weeks the sessions have been running, we have already completed 5 shifts, with a total of 173 visitor interactions; 90 from adults, and 80 from children. We were delighted with the response which will help us to achieve our objective in engaging with significantly more [young] people in the Clockmakers’ Museum.

Andrew at the Museum
Handling sessions at the Museum