Janice Kay, Camilla Hampshire and Rachel Sutton 

Celebration of major new partnership between the University of Exeter and Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

Experts from the University of Exeter and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (RAMM) are celebrating the start of a major new partnership.

Staff from both institutions will collaborate on research and organise exhibitions and events to showcase RAMM’s world-class collections.

They have signed an agreement so they can continue to work together to promote knowledge and understanding, using RAMM’s artefacts and the university’s academic expertise.

The newly-signed Memorandum of Understanding will also lead to new training and work experience opportunities for students, who will be able to use the museum’s facilities and collections.

Professor Janice Kay, University of Exeter Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “This is an exciting new phase of our partnership with RAMM, building on our long standing relationship. We are very proud that Exeter has such a fantastic museum and art gallery, and it is a privilege to work with its fantastic staff and collections.

“The partnership agreement allows us to continue developing and running key projects together. It allows us to share expertise and facilities and use the region’s excellent history to enhance understanding.”

Cllr Rachel Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Climate, Exeter City Council, said, ‘The Victorian vision of providing public education and entertainment for all of Exeter’s citizens remains at the heart of the museum’s mission, refreshed and re-presented for the 21st century as ‘Home to a Million Thoughts’. This has been the basis of our many successful collaborations with the University of Exeter. The new memorandum will allow us to explore ever more ambitious ways of working together’.

Both the University of Exeter and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery owe their origins to the Devon & Exeter Albert Memorial Institute, both originally shared the same building on Queen Street.

University of Exeter academics already carry out research using RAMM’s collections, and studies are often carried out with international partners.

The MOU replaces a previous version signed in March 2014. So far University students have completed placements, training courses and internships at RAMM, helping staff plan museum events, exhibitions and audience development activities. Students have also completed PhDs jointly supervised by the University of Exeter and RAMM on digital heritage, dementia and game design for museums. Exeter students frequently volunteer at RAMM.

University of Exeter academics using the extraordinary collections at the museum as part of their research have digitised thousands of magic lantern slides as part of a pan-European project to protect them for future generations.

Archaeologists are re-analysing RAMM’s collection of artefacts excavated in the 1970s and 80s to shed new light on Exeter’s history from Roman legionary fortress to Tudor city.

Further afield, museum staff and academics are collaborating on a project to create a new app to guide visitors around Renaissance cities such as Trento, Hamburg, Deventer, Valencia and Exeter. They are also working together with colleagues in India to trace the history behind RAMM’s collection of botanical paintings produced by Indian artists working for the East India Company in the 18th century.

Date: 23 September 2019

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