Museums begin shoebox appeal

ABERDEENSHIRE Council’s Museum Service is set to begin gathering together the experiences of refugees living in the area, and is looking for local people to donate shoeboxes to help them in their task.

The year-long initiative will see the empty shoeboxes being delivered to refugees or their descendents living in the Aberdeenshire area, which they will then fill with written memories, artefacts, sketches and photographs that trigger memories of past homelands and the first impressions of their new homeland.

Once filled, these ‘memory boxes’ will be put on display in a special temporary exhibition to mark the launch of a new gallery in Peterhead’s Arbuthnot Museum called ‘Mr Arbuthnot’s Explorers Gallery’, which will open in March 2012.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Cllr Richard Stroud, said that Aberdeenshire has a proud history of being a very welcoming area to people from around the world. “We hope the memories shared with us for the exhibition will give other residents an insight into our area from the eyes of those who have settled here from other countries”, he added.

Vice-chair of the committee, Cllr Isobel Davidson, added: “This is an exciting project aimed at filling a gap in our collections and one which we hope will allow us to tell some remarkable stories of courage and enterprise.

“Museum Service staff will be happy to accept donations of shoe boxes for the initiative and it would be great to collect as many as possible so we can reach as wide an audience as possible.”

Shoe boxes can be handed in to the Arbuthnot Museum, the North East Farming Museum, Banchory Museum or the Museum HQ in Mintlaw.

The Museum Service is marking Scottish Refugee Week by showing the DVD ‘Courage: 60 Years of the UN Refugee Convention’ in the Arbuthnot Museum and Banchory Museum on Saturday 25 June at 2pm. The showing will be followed by a workshop on making a memory box.