Outreach at the Ashmolean Musuem

Always keen to learn and expand our experiences –  when invited to attend LiveFriday@Ashmolean with Wilderness the Guerilla Archaeologists arrived early to put in a few hours exploring the Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM) collection of Shamanic and magical objects. These trips add to our knowledge, provide training for our newest GAs and in this case allowed us to say hello to old friends and colleagues. To find out more about the objects we saw go to our  Witches, Magic and Medicine@PRM page.

The PRM visit was both inspirational and educational and we headed off to our Ashmolean evening armed with new facts and ideas.  Over the next three and a hour hours we chatted to an estimated 450 people, and at one point had to close for 30 minutes to draw breathe. Down in the education room we used the theme ‘Hunters vs Goddesses’ to discuss the different roles that red deer play in prehistory (headdresses and horny men?) and fallow deer in history (doe-eyed maids and the goddess Artemis).Once again we encouraged people to explore their wild side with a little dressing up and to discover their inner animal and pin their ideas on to the ‘Shamanikin’. Elsewhere in the Egyptian gallery we taught people how to read the bones (aging, sexing and isotopes in iTribe) and encouraged them to see with their inner eye via ‘Mind in the Cave’.

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One highlight was when our soft deer head went off waltzing with the opera singer (anyone got a photo?). The response was fantastic and we really enjoyed speaking to everyone, next time we will have more structured sessions as the ‘drop in’ model does not hold up under such an onslaught of interest, even with 12 of us we were over-whelmed.

Once again cheers to the team, and in particular to our new Oxford recruits (Chris, Kathy and Joanna) and our driver Graham!

It was a great night and demonstrated what busy, engaging, thought provoking and noisy places museums can be.  And we got a lovely thank you from the museum…..we will return.


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