While the Buckland Museum has been able to open back up to visitors, the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (MWM) has not. An update for this month posted on MWM’s website outlines both the reasons and some of the other challenges the museum is facing.
UPDATE AUGUST 2020
The Museum is unable to offer private tours under any circumstances.
Major factors are:-
-Our compact premises and front of house,
-Audience density, safety, and social distancing,
-Discomfort from mandatory queuing on wet weather days,
-Mandatory one way system affecting current disabled access and emergency exits,
-Diminished visitor experience overall.
In addition, we are most concerned by the emergence of localised spikes and outbreaks of COVID19 in places which lifted lockdown early. The MWM is a place which cherishes the lives of its visitors, patrons and staff and will not knowingly or willingly put them at risk. We continue to monitor the situation on a weekly basis.
Further, as supply chains supporting our refurbishment were interrupted in March, and have yet to normalise, our 2020 refurbishment project has yet to complete and even if the pandemic situation improved, completion of works could not be until August at the earliest.
Assessments are ongoing weekly in line with best practice. We will continue to update our audience, and further announcements will be made.
How you can help:-
For the time being, the best way to help is to visit our online shop! Your messages of support also mean a great deal to us.
So Steven Intermill, director of the Buckland Museum, decided he wanted to do something to help.
Cooperation between various museums seems to be heightened during the pandemic shutdowns. Anyone who follows any of the major museums on Twitter was likely aware of some of the fun and often hilarious competitions under #CURATORBATTLE. These tweets involved curators from several museums who would post competing posts featuring photos of items in their collections, with hashtags like #BestHat, #StarObject, and #bestmuseumbum that were making the rounds during the shutdown.
One museum creating a fundraiser to help another in a time of need seemed a bit unusual, but Intermill said it is not the first time they have collaborated.
“We’ve shared photos of Buckland’s visit to the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic on the Isle of Mann with Simon [director for MWM] previously, and have often spoken about the possibilities of us visiting in the future,” explained Intermill.
Intermill continued, “We hope when the future starts to happen again we’ll be able to collaborate with something in a physical space, but in the meantime, this was something we felt we could do to help support the legendary Museum of Witchcraft & Magic right now.”
The Buckland Museum is offering a T-shirt for sale with the MWM logo and a variety of magical symbols that is only available in the United States. All of the proceeds from the sales will go to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.
Many institutions and organizations, particularly small museums, are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic and amid the various restrictions which keep many of them shuttered to visitors. The pandemic has greatly reduced the amount of revenue they depend on to operate. And even while these museums were completely shut down, their collections still needed tending.
MWM will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2021. The Museum is home to over 3,000 artifacts and 7,000 books. Simon Costin, who is also the Director of the Museum of British Folklore, became the Curator for MWM in 2013 when Graham King gifted the museum into Costin’s care.
In 70 years the museum has seen its share of troubles. The most recent being in 2004 when Boscastle Harbour and the surrounding area flooded. King’s swift action in raising the alarm about the rising waters not only helped to alert other residents and visitors but also enabled the museum’s collections to be saved. The museum reopened six months later the bigger and better than ever and has continued to enjoy being a popular site to visit.
Intermill described how they managed through the time during being shut down. “Here at the Buckland Museum during lockdown we took the time to work on some displays, every day I would come in with the idea of making the museum experience even better than it was before,” he said.
Even in places where the restrictions have been eased, it still impacts how museums and small institutions operate. While the Buckland Museum has reopened, Interhill outlined how things are different both for staff and visitors.
“A key new piece is the Guardian Angel sculpt by HR Giger that we’ve been having a blast sharing with the world. We can no longer host more than 6 individuals at a time, so our guests are getting a more in-depth and personal tour than they had before. We’ve worked on creating an experience with minimal touching in our gift shop, and so far it’s been successful,” Intermill explained.
While larger more well-known museums get a lot of love and attention, smaller, culturally significant ones need support. This fundraiser offers an opportunity to bring awareness of two of the museums that are engaged in preserving collections that are historically significant to the Pagan community and helps to support them.When asked what member of the Pagan community can do in support beyond purchasing a t-shirt, Intermill said, “Visit the museum, share our social media posts, tell your friends, shop on our online webshop! Also, do your best to quell this awful virus so this can all be a thing of the past.”
Intermill and his partner Jillian have operated the Buckland Museum since its reopening in 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Intermill is dedicated and passionate about preserving the history of Pagan and Witch communities. He said, “It’s an honor to be able to share this collection with the world, share the stories, the histories, and the cultural heritage of paganism.”