Walking the talk

October 17, 2010

I’ve spent two days at National Museums Liverpool with the community outreach team talking about all the great work that they do with various communities within Liverpool – and their programs are truly inspirational. And in between meetings I spent time in the coffee shop and gift shop. In the coffee shop I noticed that there was a sign saying that the coffee was Fair Trade Coffee, and in the gift shop there was a sign that told me that every purchase supported the Museum. So I did my bit, and purchased a block of Fair Trade chocolate (I’m a giver at heart!). It got me thinking about our shops in Museums…

It’s not really a surprise that this museum would be serving Fair Trade coffee and stocking Fair Trade stock. After all, they are responsible for the International Slavery Museum at Albert Dock. This museum documents the history of slavery, and its connection to Liverpool, which was a major slaving port in the 18th century, contributing considerable wealth to the city. The Museum also highlights contemporary slavery and has a new community space called Campaign Zone that aims to shed light on the legacies of transatlantic slavery and to raise awareness of the modern forms of slavery existing in the world today.

But it got me thinking about shops in museums. If we are serious about our mandate to serve communities and provide access to all, should more of us be following the Fair Trade route?


One Response to “Walking the talk”

  1. Hi Allison,

    I hope you’re enjoying the trip!

    I’m an advocate of the maxim “everything we do sends a message to our visitors”; whether we mean it to or not. Arguably there is no point carefully crafting an interpretive message for your exhibitions, if then your other operations then counteract that message somehow. (As it happens I’m running a workshop on this very topic at the Interpretation Australia conference in Tassie next month – it’s good to have some examples!)

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