Storytelling Competition at a London House Museum

LONDON. BURGH HOUSE, an eighteenth-century building in Hampstead is hosting a writing competition on site as well as on-line.

The sumptuous Queen Anne Building nested in the heart of Hamstead village was a private residence for decades before the Hamstead Borough Council turned it into a Community Centre in the 1940s. Sadly, it later had to be shut down because it had fallen into disrepair.

A local charity was created to save the mansion and turn it into a space for the community. Today, is is a self-funding space combining an art gallery, an exhibition gallery, a concert hall and a house museum offering many activities to local residents. It also hosts a large collection of art and objects (more than 5,000) that were donated by local residents, artists and institutions. It is also on hire for private events such as weddings and anniversaries.

Burgh House is now inviting the community to interact with it in a new way, donating words rather than material objects.

The display of what is presented as “part exhibition, part-competition” is as playful and engaging as it is is thought-provoking about the way we relate to objects in museums.

As visitors we more or less avidly rely on introductory texts and individual labels to mediate artefacts for us: why did this particular object make its way into a museum? What expert discourse vouches for its cultural value? What is important I should remember about it? This shapes not only our knowledge of each artefact but also our emotional response to it and our imaginary.

What, we are whimsically asked, would happen if objects were displayed without labels? What if visitors were to write the labels themselves? Wouldn’t they write stories?

A selection of 40 objects stripped of their museum labels are inviting three categories of participants (unders 12s / 12s-18s / over 18) to switch roles, let their imagination be the expert and fill labels with prose stories or poems.

This is a playful, and yet radical and self-reflexive proposal…

Deadline for entries is 12 November at midnight.

Caroline Marie
Université Paris 8

Citer ce billet
Caroline Marie (2023, 26 octobre). Storytelling Competition at a London House Museum. . Consulté le 23 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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