Derby Museum’s Trust Volunteer Badges

Derby Museum Trust logo

After having used and broken a number of the volunteer badges at the Derby Museum and Silk Mill I was interested in exploring a cost-effective solution that could be co-produced, made in house and reflected the ethos and character of the Museum Trust, whilst allowing volunteers to express a their personality and interest a little as well. The Silk Mill already created laser cut badges for different events on a regular basis with the resident-designer Graeme Smith and so this led me naturally to using laser cut designs for the final concepts.

I spoke to members of staff of the trust and asked them to identify an object or shape that represented the trust, or its venues, or its vision best to them. Various ideas were put forward, including a heart and a hand for the motto ‘head, heart, hands’. The mummies and the orrery were also mentioned. I also discovered the ten curators’ favourite items trail that had been created which inspired some of the design development.

The final selection of ten designs included images from all three sites across the Trust’s portfolio, whose designs were tested as being able to be recognisible from at least three metres away. Their objective was to be a talking piece and object of curiosity for visitors within the museum environment, to allow direction to different collections and sites within the Trust and also make available the Trust’s social media links if required.

  • Hippopotamus (Allenton Hippo in Notice Nature)
  • Pangolin (Museum mascot)
  • Racing pigeon (King of Rome in Notice Nature)
  • The Orrery (Joseph Wright of Derby)
  • Hieroglyphics (DM for Derby Museums) (Egyptian exhibition)
  • Binoculars (Military exhibition)
  • Silk Mill Tower (Derby’s industrial past)
  • Jet Engine (Rolls Royce)
  • Mechanical cog (Silk Mill Industry)
  • Steam train (Derby’s railway industry and heritage
  • Fireplace (Pickford’s House)
  • Lady’s profile (architectual detail from Pickford’s House)
  • Servant’s Bell (Domestic history in Derby)
  • Historical Shoe (Textile object from Pickford’s House)

Utilising the existing maker-space at the Silk Mill, the badges can be cut from off-cuts of thin plywood, produced in house; lowering cost and time resources, as well as promoting sustainability and reducing waste.

Taking the project forward, I worked with Super Nature volunteer Andy Thornton created final sketches for consideration and Graeme Smith to produce the final lasercut designs. These allowed a refinement of our concept; allowing us to keep the design best fitting the use of the badges with lanyards and also ensuring we retain copyright of the concept.

Within the image on one side, the copy ‘volunteer’ was clearly displayed and on the reverse, the Trust logo will feature alongside the museum’s twitter handles for the Museum and Art Gallery and also the Silk Mill.

To complete the project the final concepts were presented at the museum staff meeting in December 2016. I also designed an evaluation exercise to invetigate whether the new designs met their defined objectives of increasing engagement between museum visitors and volunteer staff, compared to previously used designs.

>>> The full maker’s statement is available here.