Smiley Movement logo

Black stories given spotlight in exhibition

Words by Smiley Team

A touring community exhibition exploring the power of stories and heritage has been shortlisted for prestigious national award.

Power of Stories, which included a display of costumes from Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, first opened at Christchurch Mansion between June and October 2021, and was made possible by a community effort. 

Six community curators collaborated with the museum’s team to create the exhibition, and an events programme was coordinated by Elma Glasgow, co-director of Aspire Black Suffolk – a Black-women-led community interest company focused on tackling inequality – and in partnership with several cultural organisations and community members.

The exhibition has now been nominated for the Temporary or Touring Exhibition of the Year category in the prestigious Museums + Heritage Awards 2022.

[Sign up to recieve a weekly positive newsletter]

What's in the exhibition?

From the hit Marvel film Black Panther, the outfits of T’Challa, Shuri and Okoye sat alongside Marvel comics and historic museum objects. The exhibition encouraged visitors to explore how storytelling has shaped our lives through history and across the globe. 

More than 24,000 people visited the Christchurch Mansion’s Wolsey Art Gallery to see the exhibition. There was demand for the popular exhibition to embark on a tour of Suffolk museums, to keep the costumes in Suffolk. 

Supported by Suffolk County Council, each museum taking part in the tour will re-imagine Power of Stories to suit each venue space, culture and local stories.

The artwork and collections are currently hosted at Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds until 28 April and will then be displayed at the Food Museum in Stowmarket from June and Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh from November.

Last year, the Ipswich Museum won the Museums + Heritage Community Impact Award for creating and delivering more than two thousand activity packs to children in partnership with other local organisations. 

“This is excellent news for both the Museums service and for Ipswich," says llr Carole Jones, who is the Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Museums.

"Power of Stories was a ground-breaking exhibition, and to see its success acknowledged through national recognition alongside some of the biggest names in the heritage sector highlights the quality of our town’s cultural offering for local people and visitors from further afield."

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: Find ways to support Aspire Black Suffolk – the Black-women-led community interest company focused on tackling inequality.

DONATE: You can support the Race Equality Foundation, a national charity tackling inequality to improve the lives of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. 

Photo credit: Megan Wilson

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

You might also like…