With nine museums across the city, Leeds Museums and Galleries is the largest local authority-run museum service in the UK. Yvonne Hardman, Head of Collections and Programmes, explained: “We hold one of the most important encyclopaedic collections in the UK with an estimated 1.3 million objects, which include our historic buildings. Our collections derive from locations across the world, across cultures and time – spanning some five billion years of Earth history and 300,000 years of human civilisation. There is a distinct Leeds flavour in that through the collections we celebrate the people, culture and natural environment of our city and its environs, alongside objects of national and international provenance.”
Leeds Museums and Galleries’ nine venues comprise: Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds City Museum, Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Thwaite Mills Watermill, Leeds Discovery Centre, Lotherton Hall and Temple Newsam.
The aim of the new partnership is to encourage academic staff at Leeds Beckett, both for their own research and for teaching, to engage with the museums and collections.
Heather Shore, Professor of History in the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities at Leeds Beckett, said: “We look forward to building on our existing relationship with the Leeds Museum and Galleries. For example, last year Cultural Studies staff held the Being Human event at Leeds City Museum, and History colleagues have collaborated with curators at Abbey House Museum, Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills and Temple Newsam. The Memorandum of Understanding will cement this relationship and provide an excellent foundation for similar events and projects in the future.”
Professor Shore has additionally led a joint event for Leeds Museums and Galleries curators and academics within the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities to investigate the potential for research collaboration. This has already kick-started a range of new projects and events.