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Old Tools New Uses

In October 2011, we celebrated the completion of the ‘Old Tools, New Uses’ project at Summerlee Museum of Industrial Life, Coatbridge.   The network received a £25,000 grant from the Museums Association’s Effective Collections scheme (sponsored by Esmee Fairbairn) in 2009 to undertake a collections review, produce a learning resource and consider rationalisation and sustainability issues surrounding the collections. The project has surpassed its original ambitions and is now making public its achievements.  

This project aimed to identify the treasures and duplicates of tools and domestic technology in Scottish museums. Participants were able to learn the importance of items in their collections from our independent specialist advisor, have access to a schools resource and get the opportunity to dispose of duplicate items to artisan communities in Africa in partnership with the charity Tools for Self Reliance.

Rowan demonstrating the Singer Sewing Machine at the launch in Glasgow

The project has achieved a number of other key objectives in terms of Scottish collections and education activity:
  • Production of a Master Catalogue of Scottish typewriters, sewing machines and domestic tools.  
  • Production of Guidance Materials for future curators to undertake reviews of sewing machines and typewriters.
  • Learning Resources for Schools to encourage pupils to work with domestic tool collections to understand their past and present use, to encourage enterprise, sustainability and innovation.
  • Model loan boxes for Scottish Museums to use as templates to produce (at low cost) experiences that can be used by local schools/families around project collections.
  • Collections Disposal to partner charities, Workaid and Tools for Self Reliance.

Find out more about the project, its launch, workshops, master catalogue, guidance and learning resources here on our website.