A Million Objects

AUTUMN 2022 ︎︎︎ A Million Objects

‘Archive Fever’ was a project commissioned by Modern Painters, New Decorators that responded to objects in the Leicestershire Museum Collection. We documented the entire project through film, photography and drawings.

A mile or so north of Sileby, tucked away behind a row of trees, is the Leicestershire Museums Collection; a treasure trove of approximately a million objects relating to Leicestershire’s heritage. We first visited the collection (or the archive) on a cold and bright day in January 2022.

In conversation with Senior Curator, Alison Clague, we explored the filing cabinets and display cases of the collection to uncover all sorts of objects relating to the history of the county, including; rare butterflies, old farm tools, Victorian costumes, 1970s action figures, Neolithic stone axes and 19th-century engravings.
Archive Fever, a project commissioned by Modern Painters, New Decorators, centred around four different solo exhibitions by visual artists - whose work responds to a variety of cultural reference points, including pop culture, archaeological artefacts and south Asian heritage.

Joanne Masding, Jagjit Kaur, Daniel Cowlam and Katie Schwab produced work inspired by their own trips to the museum's archives, which was displayed in the Loughborough town centre alongside a selection of items from the collection.

Our role was to document the project through a variety of mediums. We photographed exhibitions and events throughout the year, including the opening nights, which were a real highlight for us. During a follow-up trip to the museum collection in July, we spent an afternoon filling our sketchbooks with drawings of as many objects as we were able. 

These drawings were used in the project publication: A Million Objects. Working more directly with the artists and contributors we put together a collection of films that were screened at Institute Research Lab in November.

Words by Joshua Jones

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Words by Josie Jones