Lunchtime handling session in the museum

Sutton Hoo

Friday 17th September 2010 11-2


A busy and lively session with over 20 people from a variety of background and places discussing individually or in groups a small selection of the out reach world art objects from Papua New Guinea and Africa. This event had been a development from a very successful handling session earlier in the year. The conversations and planning between the museum staff had focused upon the role of museums and how objects can tell a story. It was also an opportunity to compare similarities and differences between the Anglo Saxon and world art pieces.


Discussions themes and responses included similarities or conversant associations:

  • Our innate need to represent what we see around us-strong natural world references.
  • That curves, circles and arcs are pleasing fluid shapes.
  • That these shapes relate to seas, rivers and water-PNG and Suffolk Coastal.
  • Patterns reach across cultures.
  • PNG map making using sticks, shells and stones to represent wave patterrns.
  • British Museum
  • South sea island maps
  • Fragments of evidence.
  • Symbolic use of animals.
  • That some PNG objects look like they have been muddy and in water.
  • Intrigued by skills.
  • Much of our skills base hasn’t increased over centuries.
  • ‘Chisel’ was the ‘lost tool’ for centuries until the Normans.
  • 3d pieces give us the opportunity to use all our senses, are tactile and can help us to understand the process-not just the product.
  • Skills demand apprenticeship.
  • In many cultures this is done in families.
  • Learning by doing and understanding materials is vital.
  • “All sculpture is created by removing and revealing” Brian Ansell: stone carver.