Similar to the River Thames whose tides are always changing, so will be the museum’s internal space. These cleverly designed spaces will change regularly, as will the exhibitions, as new artifacts are found and added to the collection.
This will be the base for teaching. It will be fitted out with a projector and/or visual display unit to project images and show video. It will have reference material on the walls including maps and photographs. The floor will be a re-created foreshore made up of sand, small stones and authentic looking mud and will have small items hidden that could be seen with a keen eye. This re-created foreshore will be in-filled with a layer of clear resin and so will be a solid surface to walk on and will act as a fantastic teaching / visual aid. The history wow factor will be everywhere and will be used to help inspire our tour and school visitors. Imagine how exciting it would be for a schoolchild to go home to their family and friends and say ‘I changed history today’. By offering the chance for visitors to add to our displays, a whole new history and educational experience will be offered. The classroom will also provide facilities for lectures. The space could also be used for other functions from corporate events to children’s parties.
Any object in The Thames Museum’s collection which is 300 years or older will be automatically recorded through the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Objects less than 300 years old will be recorded through the Thames Museum’s internal database and made available through the Thames Museum website. Researchers and scholars are welcome to arrange appointments to view and study artifacts which are in the museum’s archives. There will also be designated rooms to conduct research within the museum. The Thames Museum would also like to publish literature based on one of a kind objects and significant new finds to aid scholarly research. We would like to work closely with academics and historical authors and share our knowledge in order to aid learning for everyone.
Archiving need not mean ‘hidden away’. Archives can take the shape of a massive open library, always in use, full of life, constantly changing. Most museums only display approximately 5% of their collection of artifacts. Therefore, the majority of their stock is not seen by the public. The Thames Museum would like to showcase its archives through purpose-built, compact display and shelving systems which secure the artifacts and allow daily access for museum visitors.
Cafe and Gift Shop
The cafe will provide traditional English tea in china cups and saucers, UK made herbal teas, great coffee and homemade cakes. No greasy burgers in sight. It will be a take on the traditional English ‘Tea Room’ with a nice Mudlarking twist.
The gift shop will sell reproductions of artifacts - this will include limited edition copies of exceptional finds from the River. Bespoke jewellery crafted from river finds would also be sold. The museum will also stock a good display of reference material, literature, maps and Thames related books, as well as fun Mudlarking and history related toys for kids. The shop would also sell basic mudlarking equipment e.g. trowels, wellies, knee pads, buckets and pouches for finds. The museum is keen to engage with a range of UK artisans - blacksmiths, crafts people, etc. to provide unique designer / museum collaborations for the higher end of the market.
Lockers and changing rooms would be provided for groups participating in the foreshore tours. Water-proofs, wellies, gloves, buckets and trowels will be provided, as well as wash rooms for cleaning up afterwards.