Into the Light: Reviewing the Beaney Collection

The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge continues to develop and expand its award-winning Health and Wellbeing programme as part of an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

As part of this agenda The Beaney has completed a groundbreaking 18 month long volunteer project, designed specifically for students affected by debilitating anxiety. 

Made possible by a £46,000 grant from the Museums Association Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, for projects that develop collections to achieve social impact, the project has had some remarkable results. 

  • Working with 25 students affected by anxiety, who provided over 530 hours of volunteer time.
  • All the volunteers who took part reported a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.
  • Over 1500 artworks reviewed, researched, photographed and recorded.

This important work has given the museum new information and insight into some of its less well known works and will allow enhanced access to the Collection for visitors and researchers.

It has also resulted in not only an upturn for our volunteers’ mental health, but also provided useful skills and experience that will better equip them for a competitive and ever changing job market. 

The results of the project are highlighted in the below specially commissioned film by Filmmaker Ailish Erskine. They were also portrayed through the Into the Light exhibition which took place at The Beaney in 2020. With key input from the volunteers, the exhibition featured significant, unusual and interesting finds and reflections from those who took part.

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Artefacts in exhibition case The Beaney Museum

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