I’ve just got back from attending the Crime and Punishment Collections Network (CaP) AGM at York Castle Museum in my role as the group’s treasurer. York Castle Museum is a lovely and diverse museum with views from the windows of Clifford’s Tower and their First World War exhibition – “1914: when the world changed forever”- is stunning; but with a train to catch I couldn’t do it justice, so I took in as much as I could before heading out via the prison cells (historically a rare event). You can find out more about the museum at: http://www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk.
The Crime and Punishment Collections Network is a specialist collections group established 10 years ago to support at national level police and prison collections. It currently has about 35 institutional members who include Dartmoor Prison Museum, Greater Manchester Police Museum, the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross Foundation, Brighton Old Police Cells Museum, the Ministry of Justice Library, The Galleries of Justice in Nottingham, Ripon Museums Trust, the Radzinowicz Library, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, The Prison Service College, The Metropolitan Police Museum, Leeds Becket University, the Open University and The Centre for Criminology at University of Hull and, of course, our own Historic Collection of Devon & Cornwall Police. The AGMS are a chance to review the progress and direction of the group as well as a great opportunity to catch up with others in the field, and provide crucial national-level networking. Times are very hard for police and prison museums and many are silently disappearing. In addition heritage is being lost through the ongoing and rapid closures of police stations and prisons. As such, having an overall perspective, along with direct links to academics and curatorial expertise is essential. We are planning that our next AGM will be around protecting these collections, perhaps approaching the National Archives and The Home Office. The new blog for CaP can be found at : http://capcollections.wordpress.com. It is still in its infancy but I will keep you up-to-date.
Angela – Curator