The Frank Hornby 150th Anniversary project was put together by Brighton Toy and Model Museum staff and volunteers in mid-2013 when we realised that the 150th anniversary was coming up, fast, and that nobody else seemed to be doing anything to commemorate the anniversary of one of Britain's most influential inventors, and one of the country's best-loved ranges of toys.
We were originally advised that putting together this sort of project at such short notice was impossible (you're normally supposed to allow for two or three years advance preparation for something like this), but the prospect of the 2013 anniversary passing without being properly commemorated was just too awful to be allowed.
The Heritage Lottery Fund had a good scheme for smaller projects with a comparatively fast turnaround time, so we applied to them, and after a few iterations of the project plan, got approval in around November 2012 to go ahead. After advertising and selecting a Project Officer, we finally got to start the project with only a few weeks to go until 2013!
A fuller listing of how the project progressed is at http://frankhornby150.blogspot.co.uk/
Milestones by March 2013:
- Project Officer post advertised, Project Officer hired for one year
- Press release sent out declaring 2013 as Frank Hornby Year
- Creation of a small project website, hosting and domain names prepaid for five years.
- Brochures for the project designed and distributed at ModelWorld, and to any other organisations interested.
- Poster designed for Brighton Station (before the site that we booked disappeared)
- Project launch, over three days at the 2013 ModelWorld Exhibition, The Brighton Centre.
- Press coverage for the project launch (BBC radio, ITV Meridian local television news)
- Project launch party and community get-to know you meetup for Hornby, Dinky and Meccano community members to meet and network (Feb 23rd).
- Slideshow displays for Modelworld
- Selecting, scanning, cropping editing, catalogue images, then embedding title and/or keyword metadata, uploading to the Museum's wiki, and describing and categorising. We said that we'd try to do at least two hundred images, so far we've done over five hundred.
- Writing online entries for the Museum's collections of Hornby, Dinky, Meccano and other Binns Road items. Over 150 pages written so far (out of an estimated total of somewhere around five hundred). We're finding it easier to identify and write up pages after there's an uploaded catalogue image, so although we're doing the scanning and page creation in parallel, we're trying to do the scanning first, where practical.
- Including volunteers in the project. So far most of the Dinky item pages have been written by a new volunteer, and there are various other jobs being given to volunteers to help them gain experience.
- Museum Touchscreens. We've now researched and installed a set of new touchscreens around the Museum, to allow visitors to access the wiki and other relevant webpages real-time within the museum space.
- Museum Touchscreen housings - we've researched and designed our own screen housings and cut them from acrylic with the help of the local BuildBrighton constructor's group.
- Wiring the Museum for wi-fi, so that the tablets can connect to the internet.
- Custom software. This wasn't originally on the plan, but we felt that it was worth creating our own custom android app to run on the touchscreens, to make them easier to use.
- Creation of an educational presentation for schools which can be pre-booked.
- Creation of activity sheets and resource sheets for children
- Buying folding tables and chairs for school visits, activities and events
March 2013 onwards
- Plastic Meccano and wooden Brio-compatible hardwood trains and cars (with track and road) for active play
- Creation of FH150 colouring-in sheets, art materials
- Creation of a set of laminated sheets giving the History of Frank Hornby and his creations
- Poster originally intended for Brighton Station, now to appear at a new location, in the Churchill Square shopping centre (April 2013)
- Creation of a portrait-format electronic poster installation giving the same basic material in slideshow format
- More promotion and cross-promotion of events in the Museum and by partners, around Frank Hornby Week
- Creation of new interactive Meccano displays
- Continuing work on expanding the Museum's online Hornby/Dinky/Meccano-related resources
- Continuing work on the project progress blog, and more work on outreach, promotion and social media
Frank Hornby Week
Frank Hornby Week - The Museum's own activities were:
- A special Hornby-themed Train Running Day on Saturday 11th March 2013, to kick off the week
- Frank Hornby tours, two per day (morning and afternoon), from Tuesday to Saturday (10 total)
- Frank Hornby Celebration party with press and photo opportunities on Wednesday 15th May 2013 (the 150th anniversary), with invited guests
- "Museums at Night" event, with specialist talk, on the evening of Friday 17th May 2013** Children's Play Day on Sunday 19th May 2013, with wooden trains, and cars, track and roads, plastic Meccano, colouring-in and other activities.
- The Frank Hornby Charitable Trust held a week-long programme of public celebrations in Maghull, Merseyside, starting on May 15th 2013
- The Liverpool Museums Groups will also held special events throughout the summer, to commemorate the anniversary