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Elizabeth Montgomery, Collections and Interpretation Officer of the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, being filmed for the series (prior to lockdown).

The films, which were shot before lockdown, have been created as part of a research project which is based at the University of Chester’s Department of History and Archaeology, in collaboration with the Open University.

They take you behind the scenes, showcasing unseen everyday objects in the collection of the Grosvenor Museum, including: an early modern Goldsmith’s chest and keys; medieval tiles (including the famous three hare tile from Chester Cathedral, which copies motifs from a cave in Dunhuang, China dated from the 6th/7th Century CE (Common Era)); shoes; pilgrim badges and devotional tokens. The films bring the medieval and early modern objects to life, showing how they still bear signs of personal use, were recycled and moved across global boundaries.

Each film starts with an introduction to the Arts and Humanities Research Network project - ‘Mobility of Objects Across Boundaries 1000-1700’ (MOB).  They are presented by project leaders, Dr Katherine Wilson (Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Chester) and Dr Leah Clark (Department of Art History at the Open University). This is followed by a close examination of each object by Elizabeth Montgomery (Collections and Interpretation Officer) of the Grosvenor Museum, Chester. They were filmed and produced by Caroline Ford and Steve Allen of the Department of Music, Media and Performance at the University of Chester, and have been released on the Open University’s Open Arts Archive, which is part of the Open Arts Objects project, and an open access resource.

Dr Katherine Wilson said: “I am delighted that these public and educational films help deliver one of the key aims of the project, which is to reconsider the history of material culture in the period AD 1000-1700 and to understand the impact and consequences of mobility of objects to bigger historical transformations.”

Dr Leah Clark said: "As founder of Open Arts Objects, it's wonderful to add these four films to the Open Arts Archive site, to showcase the collaboration between the Open University, the University of Chester, and the Grosvenor Museum. With over 50 films regularly used in schools by teachers, it's wonderful to add these resources, which offers students a chance to see objects being handled, from wherever they're watching: in their homes or classrooms."

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Being able to share some of our fascinating collections with students across the country and across the world is very exciting. Like all museums it is always frustrating when so many items stay out of sight due to lack of display space.

“As a Council we embrace partnership opportunities like this and I’m sure these new films will be opening the door to future studies of our unique history.” 

The films can be accessed through the links below and further information about the project can be found here.

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