‘Old Tools, New Uses’ Drop In Workshops

September saw the third and fourth drop-in surgeries for the project take place. On the 7th, the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore played host to what proved to be an object-rich assessment and identification day. David Woodcock and Catherine Gillies manned the event, ably assisted by Catherine’s new intern, Sarah Heaton. Elgin Museum and Timespan Centre, Helmsdale dominated the day, arriving focused and prepared with boxes of objects and lots of images from their museums.

One or two choice objects were discovered, including a very attractive early nineteenth century linen thread winder, and a long-standing mystery item from Elgin was identified as a top hat iron! Work from this session has subsequently enabled Elgin to submit lists for the master catalogue. The Timespan Centre were delighted that we could identify the bulk of the contents of their impressive smiddy from some excellent images. Both travelling groups felt the day was incredibly useful and their long journeys more than worthwhile.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh provided the venue for the final drop-in on the 27th. Sandwiched between STICK business meetings the event was well attended. Alan Randall (Focused Learning  and Interpretation), STICK’s recently-appointed educational content specialist,  attended to gain an overview of OTNU project progress and David Woodcock presented a guideline paper for assessing and recording objects for the OTNU project. David Woodcock said: “I have sat down with half-a-dozen museums today all contributing to the project. Alan Randall was impressed by the day’s events and has gained some great ideas for the learning element of the project.”

Old Tools, New Uses Workshops

Come along to one of our drop-in workshops around the country to find out more about the Old Tools, New Uses projects.  These sessions are aimed at any heritage bodies or organisations with domestic technology collections who would benefit from free professional advice and assessment of any items by our independent specialist subject advisor, David Woodcock.

The sessions provide an ideal opportunity to confirm that material you have is definitely unwanted and can be donated to our charity partner Tools for Self Reliance who will renovate and distribute the items to communities in Africa.


We have organised a series of workshops around the country to make it as easy as possible for all interested parties to attend.  If you would like to book a place, please contact Megan Combe, NMS National Partnerships Officer on m.combe@nms.ac.uk.

Glasgow – Wednesday 9th June

National Piping Centre (directions)

13:00-15:30, although the public launch will start at 11:00.

Aberdeen – Thursday 24th June

Cowdray Hall (directions)

Newtonmore – Tuesday 7th September

Highland Folk Museum (directions)

Edinburgh – Monday 27th September

Royal College of Surgeons (directions)