Our Mini Museum

After touring the house and examining Audley End’s extensive collection, we chose a selection of historic objects we wanted to 3D model. We found ourselves asking… Why are humans drawn to collecting ‘trinkets’? And is a Russian rat’s tail from 1854 relevant today?

In August 2021 we put a call out to anyone interested in maths, photography, IT, history and science. This unusual mix of subjects was perfect for our Mini Museum project.

Photogrammetry is the science of obtaining accurate measurements from images (which you can then create 3D models from), and we needed young people with an interest in technology, as much as an interest in history! We met for the first time on Zoom to learn about the science and history of photogrammetry from Historic England’s Geospatial Survey Team Leader.

From Native American clubs, to a helmet from the Crimean war, to a piece of oak collected from the oldest tree in England in 1838; there are so many objects in the Braybrooke Collection, and most have been little researched. Being able to choose and interpret each object ourselves meant that we, as young people, became an integral part of the digital documentation of these objects and their history – and that’s pretty cool!

We found the inexplicable human habit of collecting, saving and treasuring ‘trinkets’ was the common thread that made this project so tangible and relevant to us today. Haven’t we all collected a small memento at some point, to remind us of a particular place and time?

The Russian rat’s tail is a very unassuming (if not bizarre) object, yet the story it represents (of two brothers with a sense of humour, who died within weeks of each other) brings us closer than ever to this Victorian family.

Whilst we set up our equipment, Megan, the assistant curator at Audley End, chatted to us about her career and what conservation and curating involves in a house like Audley End.

After we had taken several photographs of each object, we set to work on creating their 3D models on the software Jon had taught us. Overall, we were really chuffed with how they all came out. You can visit our Google Arts and Culture platform here to read more about what we got up to and what we learnt!