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Miniature Museum by Tara Downs and Bart Sabel at Holst Museum, Cheltenham, from Sat 13th

A quote from The Holst Museum in Cheltenham – who will be launching Miniature Museum of Museums soon!

“A most eccentric desk” Song for an artwork! Steve Hill performs for launch of Miniature Museums

Miniature Museum of Museums at Gloucester Waterways for #MuseumWeek celebrate culture!

Miniature Museum of Museums -The Friction Project: commissioning artists to create artworks that have the potential to adapt and change.


The Miniature Museum of Museums was commissioned by Flow Contemporary Arts. A new cabinet by Tara Downs and Bart Sabel, it responds to resarch done in three Gloucestershire Museums – The Waterways Museum i Gloucester, Museum in the Park in Stroud and finally The Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham.

It’s a very beautiful thing, interactive, charming and fascinating. The tour ends on 1st September – try and see it at The Holst Birthplace Museum before then if you can! It’s contents respond to each location and are merged together to create enchanting new narratives.

Flow Contemporary Arts has commissioned artists Tara Downs and Bart Sabel to create a new artwork for the Friction Project, in response to three Gloucestershire Museums. The project sets out to explore how artists can be commissioned to create artworks that have the potential to adapt and change. The research and delivery of the project has been developed in partnership with the Holst Museum (Cheltenham); the Museum in the Park (Stroud) and the Waterways Museum (Gloucester). The artwork, The Miniature Museum of Museums, will tour all three locations during 2015. Very much a form of cabinet of curiosity, visitors will be able to touch and animate the artwork, which will merge knowledge, engineering and creative-thinking to release new ways of experiencing the museum collections.

Tara and Bart have gained a reputation for their complex constructions that show an eye for detail and finish yet retain a steam-punk aesthetic. Their works are to be experienced – to be heard, seen and touched. In 2014 they presented The Ozleworth Cabinet of the Gylde at Newark Park, a National Trust property in the Cotswolds, as part of the SIT Select Festival. It was the third in a sequence of interactive miniature museums in the form of cabinets of curiosities by the artists.

For the Friction Project, the stimulus for the artist’s research is ingenuity in engineering – exploring what sparks off imagination and innovation and thinking about how ideas are taken from a thought to a working thing with wheels and widgets, motherboards and motors. In engineering, points of friction often result in movement. In creative thinking, points of friction can occur where fact and fiction rub together, or where mechanical meets digital. Tara & Bart are working with staff and volunteers from the museums to explore those hot-spots. By learning about history particular to each of the museums, then blending knowledge seamlessly with playful stories, the artists offer visitors an encounter with fact and fallacy through storytelling. The artists create automata, soundworks and interactive sculpture, engaging and enchanting audiences, evoking curiosity and wonder.

Below is a very beautiful diagram from the Museum in the Park collection that is informing the artists’ thinking:

copyright Museum in the Park, Stroud
MSS Patent specifications for ‘Messrs Lewis and Ferrabee’s improvements in Dressing Cloths etc’ 3 may 1838. copyright Museum in the Park, Stroud

The project is funded by Arts Council England