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Nottingham Trent University Arts and Humanities at Work Placement student, Mia Penny, has been exploring the new exhibitions and performances at the National Justice Museum. Here, she blogs about what she found most interesting and inspiring.
The new and improved National Justice Museum, is now re-open for the public to explore. The museum is now called the ‘National Justice Museum’ instead of the ‘Galleries of Justice’, as this relates more to its national heritage, education work and themes of crime, justice and punishment.
After receiving a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum has been under redevelopment for new and exciting changes. The new developments and changes within the museum make the museum even more fun and thought-provoking than before. The re-development of the courtroom and exhibitions with new furnishings and interactives give a modern feel to the historical information, and legal heritage provided. Whilst walking around the museum, especially the Crime Gallery and prison cells, televisions with running film and interactive devices are provided to add to the experience. This provides a different type of platform to provide information, which may appeal more to younger children, as they can watch and play rather than read. The new touch screen devices that are provided enable you to play games and engage with quizzes whilst learning important information about the law, certain time periods and famous figures within history. The information desks provide headphones which encourage you to listen to information about the specific topic provided.
What I found interesting and inspiring.
Whilst walking around the museum, I found many aspects of it interesting and inspiring and thoroughly enjoyed the overall feel and experience that was provided.
Generally, the museum enabled me to learn new things which I was in the dark about before. The central theme of crime, law and punishment ran throughout, providing a variety of interesting information for me. Ultimately, it made me realise that the law and justice system are extremely important and relevant in our modern day, just how brutal the system was before and essentially the amount of change that has occurred throughout the years. The information provided throughout was extremely fascinating. Whether this be historical events, figures or information, the imagery and historical objects gave me that extra bit of heritage and knowledge.
I decided to watch the ‘Theatre of Law’ performance which was taking place in the court room. The court room is a grand, old court room, redeveloped in the Victorian era. The play itself acted out, with volunteers from the visitors as witnesses, a real-life historical trial – of Daniel Diggle, a Luddite and accused attempted murderer. It was highly entertaining, humorous and gave me insightful knowledge on how the justice system used to work, this aspect of the museum I found particularly entertaining.
Additionally, an aspect of the museum that inspired me was the written notes which were hung upon the barriers in the Journey to Justice temporary exhibition (pictured below), which people had individually written. This gives the community their say on how they plan to take action for change, which is particularly inspiring as it shows people’s fight for justice and how they want to live in an equal society in which everyone is treated the same. What particularly struck me was a note written by an 11 year old boy (also seen below), stating ‘even though I am only 11, I still believe in women rights’. This gave me a level of comfort, as it shows that the upcoming generation are engaging in the law and are acquiring an open minded, optimistic view on life. Another comment read ‘the museum has inspired me’, which related to my overall personal experience after seeing the museum.