Getting ready to launch Miniature Museum of Museums – press images available, just ask


interplanetary receiver Pianola Textile Coding Roll Projector 02

On Saturday 28th February The Waterways Museum in Gloucester launches the tour of the Miniature Museum of Museums, created by artists Tara Downs and Bart Sabel. They create automata, soundworks and interactive sculpture, engaging and enchanting audiences of all ages, evoking curiosity and wonder. Come and see An Interplanetary Receiver, An Analytical Engine (the brain), A Gramophone Planetarium and a Pianola Textile Coding Roll Machine – discover the ideas behind them and explore what makes innovation tick.

Gloucester Waterways Museum General Manager, Doreen Davies, said: “We’re delighted to launch the tour of the Miniature Museum of Museums and welcoming a new temporary exhibit.  We are very much looking forward to seeing how collection items in the Gloucestershire Museums have been incorporated into the cabinet of curiosity.”

Thanks to Arts Council funding, Flow Contemporary Arts commissioned the artists to create a wonderful new Miniature Museum in response to the collections in three Gloucestershire Museums. The research and delivery of the project has been developed in partnership with the Holst Birthplace Museum (Cheltenham); the Museum in the Park (Stroud) and the Waterways Museum (Gloucester). A form of cabinet of curiosity, visitors will be able to touch and animate the artwork, which will merge knowledge, engineering and creative-thinking to release new ways of understanding the museum collections.

The artists have drawn out a connecting thread between the three museums, that of ingenuity. The Miniature Museum of Museums invites visitors to explore their intriguing inventions through touch, sound and movement. Visitors to the work will experience the playfulness of how creativity is the impetus to all invention. Music, engineering and humble mechanisms are the outcome of curiosity and imagination. This cabinet of curiosity explores what sparks off imagination and how it becomes a working thing with wheels and widgets, motherboards and motors.

Tara tells us a bit more about the project: “Inspired by examples of inventiveness and creativity oozing from the 3 museums, our desk whirs and stirs with turns of various machinations – how else to conjure up the drive of canal mania engineering? Or the revolutions of technologies manufactured in the Stroud valleys – and the experimental, enquiring and sensitive mind of a composer such as Holst? The installation reflects on the interplay of imagination, industry and craftsmanship. It has a life and logic of its own for you to discover. Encompassing an era from the 1820’s – 1930’s, it selects innovations and highlights significant social influences and effects – and pulls on threads that stretch out to today and beyond. “

Tara and Bart have gained a reputation for their complex constructions that show an eye for detail and finish yet retain a steam-punk aesthetic. Their works are to be experienced – to be heard, seen and touched. In 2014 they presented The Ozleworth Cabinet of the Gylde at Newark Park, a National Trust property in the Cotswolds, as part of the SIT Select Festival. It was the third in a sequence of interactive miniature museums in the form of cabinets of curiosities by the artists.

By learning about history particular to each of the museums, then blending knowledge seamlessly with playful stories, the artists offer visitors an encounter with how ingenuity fires the imagination. The artwork will tour Gloucestershire throughout 2015, visiting each museum in turn.

The artists invite you to be seated at the desk and allow your own ingenious mind to be tickled by sounds from space, the workings of a brain that is a constellation of coggage, stirred by the symphonic universe of the gramophone planetarium, and pedal your way round a pianola textile coding machine roll…oh, and don’t forget to open the drawers and peep in from other angles!

Published by carolyn black

I'm an artist and also commission contemporary art in unusual locations. As a producer, I fundraise, curate, project manage and deliver projects. I'm also a writer and film-maker.

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