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A director of the museum-making company Metaphor, Rachel Morris has been part of the creation, design and delivery of some of the most exciting displays, renovations and museums of the last few decades, from the New Cast Courts at the V&A to the Terracotta Warriors at the British Museum and Grand Egyptian museum in Cairo. Rachel is also the author of two previous novels.
In The Museum Makers Rachel Morris, director of museum company Metaphor, plots an enthralling personal and professional journey from finding a box of family belongings beneath her bed, to the beating heart of Bloomsbury’s bohemian circles in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This journey is underpinned by the very essence of what museums are and do: “Museum-making is about sorting often quite ordinary objects to make meaningful patterns out of the muddle and confusion of the universe; thoughtful, beautiful patterns that have something to say. Museums are where we go to make sense of the world and the pasts that have gone. And what we do in museums we also do with our own histories.” Which is exactly what Morris does when she digs into the contents of the box and is led to discover secrets about her father, Gran, and great-grandmother Nona, which she curates into her Museum of Me. Illuminated by the power of objects to stir memories, and to make sense of oneself, the journey also delves into women’s involvement with, and relationship to, museums: “Museums have a special appeal for women whether as places to work in or as places to visit.” While men may have curated early museums (as an extension of their curation of the world), women were key collectors, donors and fundraisers from those nascent days. At once an absorbing history of museums, and a profoundly personal memoir of detection and discovery, this has all the delightful universal appeal of a cabinet of curiosity.
Since the Conservative government's reform of the law and policy relating to accommodation for Travelling People (Gypsies and Travellers) in 1992, there have been no changes to the legislation, despite a major review of housing law and policy commenced by the current Labour government in 2000. A primary motive given for the 1992 legal reforms was financial: that the cost to the public purse of providing sites for Travelling People was unjustifiably high. Yet no study was ever done into the costs of not providing sites. In addition to exploration of the financial costs experienced by local authorities in the UK, both as landowners and as providers of public services, the book also examines the financial, human and social costs suffered by private landowners, police services and Travelling People themselves. The book places these costs in context both by exploring the process of change to law and policy in this field in 1992, and the issues now raised by the 'Best Value' regime and other new obligations placed on public bodies by human rights and race relations laws. The book will be invaluable reading for practitioners and policy makers in housing, planning, equality issues, education, welfare and policing at local and national levels. It will also be of interest to social policy and social work academics and students, and to Travelling People themselves.