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  • Muswell Hill Junior School, 2011

Crafts Council Handling Collection

A rich learning resource of over 700 objects

The Handling Collection was started in 1979 to support the gallery education programme in place at the time. Many of the objects in this collection are accompanied by samples, sketches, books and background material. 

The current collecting policy prioritises original work that embodies rich learning potential, especially in its physical and tactile qualities for handling, as well as makers’ conceptual or narrative approaches. There has always been an emphasis on acquiring works by makers who have been involved in key Crafts Council projects, programmes and specific exhibitions, and whose work is relevant to Crafts Council goals and research interests (such as the integration of digital technologies and skills). This has enabled the work to be made accessible to a wider and more diverse audience. 

The most recent acquisitions to the Handling Collection have been in 2014 include Karen Thompson's porcelain cheese sandwich from York Curiouser, and previous to that samples from Simon Hasan acquired in 2013. 

The Crafts Council understands that handling real objects is a powerful tool in learning, and seeks to empower children by trusting their abilities to handle precious collections while imparting a sense of awe and curiosity about the pieces they come into contact with.

Dark Jewel, Stella Harding, 2010. Handling Collection: HC695

We are currently evaluating our use of the handling collection, to make it available again to a diverse range of audiences in 2016.

The Handling Collection, along with the Crafts Council main Collection, can be accessed via Collections Online.

If you would like further information on our handling collection, or should you wish to receive details when new opportunities to experience it arise, please email participation@craftscouncil.org.uk.

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