Women Making an Exhibition of Themselves

Looking at a rosette, Badges of Honour project

Looking at a rosette, Badges of Honour project

Glasgow Women’s Library is a unique resource in Scotland, housing a huge collection of materials by, for and about women. At the moment the most visible aspect of the Library is the lending library, where every single volume on the shelves has been donated by members of the public. However, visitors to our permanent home on Landressy Street might be surprised to know that we also hold museum and archive collections that have not only all been donated by users, supporters, members and publishers, but are also of outstanding importance as a Recognised Collection of National Significance.

The collections are freely accessible to all by making an appointment in advance but for those popping in without a prior appointment or interested in browsing the collections, the material is currently hidden from view, stored in museum-standard storage spaces within the building.

We have recently received funding from Museums Galleries Scotland to create displays showcasing artefacts from the collections – both within the Women’s Library building, and as Women on Wheels mobile units to travel across Scotland to community settings. This will give us an opportunity to make a larger part of our unique collections more open and accessible for all.

Our collections are your stories…

Our rich collections of books, objects and archives contain rare and unique items that explore every aspect of women’s lives from the early 19th Century to today and we are the only accredited museum dedicated to women’s history in the whole of the UK.

So what’s in our collections? Everything from Suffragette memorabilia to Women’s Liberation material; recipe books and zines; knitting patterns and Roller Derby crash helmets; quilts and protest banners; private journals and newspaper clippings. We are still actively collecting and have wonderful items from the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow, material representing both sides of the Scottish independence referendum as well as placards and pink pussy hats from the Women’s Marches across Scotland from 2017.

Eilish McColgan’s running shoe

Eilish McColgan’s running shoe, part of our Women of the Games collection

Detail of quilt made by Shoreditch Sisters Women’s Institute

Detail of quilt made by Shoreditch Sisters Women’s Institute

Taken together, our collections tell the stories of how women have shaped their own lives and those of their broader communities – and how ultimately they have changed hearts, minds and laws.

…and we need YOU to tell them!

We want people reflected on our bookshelves and in the display cases, we want many different voices telling stories and we want to connect inspiring women from the past with the next generations. In other words, we need YOU to shape our displays and choose the artefacts from our collections that tell some of these stories. We are looking for a group of up to 12-15 women to be our volunteer Community Curators. We want women who are up for quite literally making an exhibition of themselves.

Volunteers working together on a group project

Volunteers working together on a group project

As a Community Curator you will

  • Get exclusive behind-the-scenes access to our stores and our experts
  • Explore our museum, archive and library collections in depth
  • Go on outings to exhibitions and museums for inspiration
  • Learn the basics of museum work from collections care to exhibitions
  • Choose and interpret what to showcase in our exhibition
  • Play detective and research the hidden histories of the artefacts going on display
  • Digitise material to include on our website and online catalogue
  • Have lots of fun! Just bring yourself, no training or experience needed.

The Community Curators will meet once a week every Tuesday afternoon 1-3pm at Glasgow Women’s Library from May 2017 to January 2018, with occasional Saturday outings to museums and galleries in Glasgow and beyond. There is also an opportunity for more informal regular gatherings on Saturdays for the group to chat about the project. If you can only make it for an hour on Tuesday afternoons, or are only free on Saturdays, do get in touch as we can be flexible with timings and will do our best to work with your existing commitments.

Travel expenses will be reimbursed, and there will be a steady supply of refreshments and biscuits (at a safe distance away from the collections).

Get involved!

Model House made by women from South Asia, Glasgow Women’s Library

Model House made by women from South Asia, Glasgow Women’s Library

We are looking for a group of 12-15 women who reflect the diversity of viewpoints and life experiences of women in Scotland, and we’re particularly keen to hear from:

  • Local women from the G40 postcode area, which is home to GWL: Bridgeton, Calton and Dalmarnock
  • Women living with a Disability
  • Women from Black and Minority Ethnic groups
  • Young women not currently in education or employment

If you’re interested in becoming a Community Curator, please fill in the short application form below and email to Assistant Curator, Krisztina Lackoi at Krisztina.Lackoi@womenslibrary.org.uk by 25 April 2017.

Download: Community Curators Application Form

Or why not pop in to the Women’s Library and come along to our Drop-in session on Tuesday 24th April 2017 from 1pm to find out more? There’s no commitment to join, and we’ll have some wonderful objects out from the store to give you an idea of what we have in the collections – including this Mystery Object.

Mystery object from our collections

Mystery object from our collections

Museums Galleries Scotland logo

The Entire Museum Collection of Glasgow Women's Library is Recognised as a Nationally Significant Collection Awarded by Museums Galleries Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government