Museum of Brands Youth Panel at the New YouthQuake Market

In this post Jess Hill, learning volunteer at the Museum, tells us about her role in the New Youthquake event in partnership with RBKC Council, where she brought the museum to the public on Portobello market.

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On the 27th May, the Museum of Brands Youth Panel and learning volunteers helped to run an experimental object handling stall during Portobello Road Market’s New Youthquake and ‘Love Your Local Market’ event. The initiative aimed to give local young talent the opportunity to sell their products or showcase their businesses. Stalls ranged from modern clothing to baking and children’s toys – and we at the museum were asked if we wanted to take part too.

It was a brilliant chance for the museum’s Youth Panel to get stuck into aspects of a museum-run event, and they were essential in making sure the event had social media coverage, a striking stall design and for the event to run smoothly on the day. The activity on the stall itself was managed by myself, a museum learning volunteer and Museum Studies masters student at the University of Westminster. I designed the object handling and smelling activity using the museum’s handling collection as part of my Masters’ major project. The aim was to get people talking about their memories of brands from the collection and then encourage them to visit the museum with a complimentary 2 for 1 voucher. In some cases the museum has found that locals from the area around the museum aren’t aware it exists, so the stall was an excellent way to market the museum to an audience that wasn’t visiting the museum.

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Altogether the day was hugely successful, and thanks to some surprisingly sunny English weather there were lots of visitors and a good amount of footfall past the stall. Visitors really engaged with the smelling activity in particular, which was four mystery boxes containing pungent smelling but iconic objects from the handling collection: Lifebuoy soap, Oxo cubes, Gucci perfume and Surf washing powder. Even if the visitors were tourists who did not recognise the quintessentially British products, it was a lighthearted guessing game and got many people interested in the rest of the handling collection on display. For others, it was a ‘way in’ for passersby who might not have stopped to have a chat otherwise, and often led to interesting conversations about their memories of the smells, which we asked if they would like to write on a post-it note:

“Lifebuoy Soap – memories of being scrubbed and my skin red and sore for days!”

“Oxo soup’. Boiling water on a cube and white sliced dunked in it – the first ever cup-a-soup!!”

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We also got some great feedback from visitors who weren’t expecting to be able to handle the collection, and were encouraged to then visit the museum.

“It was a trip back. Brilliant. Well Done – Paul”

The event now organised, with a few friendly volunteers, is an interesting outreach activity that would be fairly simple for the museum to try again. It is a great way for the museum to advertise Robert Opie’s fantastic collection (plus a few fun facts about Munchies and Bird’s Custard!) to the local community and allow the public to handle and engage with it more fully.

The Learning team would like to thank Jess and the Youth Panel for all their hard work creating a fantastic event, engaging with over 100 members of the public with the Museum collection. 

InTRANSIT Festival at Museum of Brands

Fié Neo, artist at Central Saint Martins, joined forces with the Museum of Brands for InTRANSIT Festival, a festival of participatory arts in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea from 8 to 25 June. Fié Neo’s practice is primarily in participatory, socially engaging art that aims to bring about positive social change. In this post Fie explains her initial interest in the project, her artistic intentions, and the importance of community engagement.

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Partnership: InTRANSIT, CSM and Museum of Brands

InTRANSIT Festival is an annual showcase of newly commissioned, site-specific, participatory arts and performance, taking place throughout the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Helen Scarlett, co-curator at InTRANSIT, first approached the ‘Performance Design and Practice’ course at Central Saint Martins with open calls for artist proposals.  I met at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising and what immediately interested me in the project was the community engagement element that was emphasised in this site specific brief. All my previous projects work towards creating social change and I have done a lot of participatory art and interventions within the public sphere. I had my reservations at first as I was not entirely into the idea of advertising and consumerism in capitalistic societies we live in now, just because it creates a lot of waste and unnecessary products we don’t need. However, after visiting the museum I had a totally different view. It was a pleasant surprise to go through the museum’s collection and realise it’s really more a documentation of life, of people’s history than psychological persuasion into wanton purchasing. The collection is vast and with a diverse array of objects including souvenirs and posters from Queen Elizabeth’s wedding, something I would never have seen had I not visited the museum. Ahead of me in the ‘Time Tunnel’ was an elderly lady who mentioned that she had one of those magazines on Queen Elizabeth’s wedding, passed down from her mother. How fascinating it is that these objects live on in people’s memories! It’s not a collection of art that only wealthy aristocrats have access to, it’s a collection of everyday items so close to people’s hearts and lives. Nearing the end of the collection I started to see more products that I could identify with and it really made me think, we are the future but we will also be history too, what we do now has a direct impact on the generations that come after.

Family Activity: ‘Make you own Advert!’

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Advertisements have a far larger impact on society than we give it credit for. We see advertisements everywhere both in print and on screen with subtle stereotype portrayals and discrimination; they sink into people’s subconscious on a daily basis. With this activity I wanted people to participate and have fun but also determine who they wanted to be, subverting gender roles, and changing stereotypes from the conventional gendered jobs. They get to choose an item to advertise, then a role from “prime minister” to “wrestling champion”, “wizard”, “old lady” from a mystery box, forming their own characters and script. We primarily focused on children and thought it would be best to minimise guidelines and give them as much creative freedom as possible. I believe that there is a lot to learn from children because unspoken social rules and norms are not yet hardened in their minds. While we have a lot to offer as adults perhaps we also have a lot to learn and unlearn because we are bounded by implicit stereotypes and expectations, unless we actively choose to reconsider.

Museum as a social space for community engagement

With this project I wanted to make use of the festival to promote the museum, the cafe and garden, as an ideal social space for interactions with the community. Kensington is an interesting area with a highly affluent community mixed with social deprivation, seemingly these demographics rarely come together and interact socially. Understanding is so important in creating a strong and cohesive society, and beneath the labels of class we are all humans. Out on the streets I don’t see the social status that separates people but the same hopes of parents and grandparents out with their children wanting nothing less for their young ones. Through this event I hope more people will come to know the Museum of Brands and make use of its spaces as an option for community engagement and social cohesion.

This event was a great opportunity for me to learn more about community engagement. It was lovely to see adults in their 20s and 30s having a blast with the costumes, wigs and accessories, putting on as many as 4 layers of costumes and even cross dressing! There really is no age limit to having fun or being a child at heart. Social spaces like the Museum are perfect places in a busy city like London where constant transition can create isolation, especially within immigrant communities without close connections. In a previous participatory art project I was involved with as part of London Design Festival, I met a pregnant mother from the Middle East who had come to London with her husband. In her arms she held an active toddler with another baby on the way, she had no other family or friends except her husband who was mostly at work. From that event I realised the potential festivals and community activities can bring, bringing people together and breaking down barriers. However, greater support is needed from local councils to allow more of these projects to exist. To create an inclusive society means reaching out to people and providing options for community participation, allowing for a strong and cohesive community to be formed. I believe that festivals like InTransit, through grass-root activity, will help to promote an inclusive and diverse community. Now more than ever help make Kensington a more connected and cohesive place to be.

We welcome families and big kids alike to join our second workshop day this Sunday 25th June, please drop in anytime between 11am-4pm. For more information please see our ‘Whats on’ page.

Interview with Lauren: Front of House Volunteer

In the second of a series of interviews Lauren Carpenter tells us about her time volunteering at Front of House of the Museum of Brands.L.Carpenter

Describe your volunteer role

Normally I work on the front desk, which is great because I get to meet a variety of people. I get to greet school trips coming in and seeing what people think of the museum first hand. Last week I was giving out leaflets all over Portobello road. No two days are ever the same!

How would you describe the museum

It’s probably the most varied museum I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing to see how much packaging has changed throughout the years. It’s also great to see products that I recognise from growing up and seeing what they’re like now. Everyone can visit the museum and get something different out of it.

If you could highlight one museum object what would it be and why ?

That’s a difficult question because there is so much stuff that I like. If I had to pick one, it would have to be the London 2012 Olympic biscuit tin because it reminds me of all the great memories from when London hosted the Olympics.

What’s the most encouraging/interesting thing a visitor has ever said to you?

I’ve had so many people come up to me saying how the museum has inspired them to look through their collections at home and see what hidden treasures they have to donate.

What has the next few months got in store for you at the museum?

I’m nearly finished with my degree in French and History so after that I hope to continue volunteering and seeing what else it has to offer.

Drawing from the Collection: Zahra Tharani

In this blog local illustrator Zahra Tharani tells us about how she drew inspiration from the Museum’s collection and in particular the temporary series of Gender in Advertising.  Zahra’s inspired illustrations explores gender from the Victorian times to the 1930s, with men and women depicted in different social spheres within the home, society, and the family. I caught up with Zahra to ask her a few questions on the museum, her work, and her future plans.1-e1497864933376.jpgWhat was your involvement with the museum?

I created some illustrations showing the representation of men and women in advertisements through a chosen period of time as part of the museum’s series Gender in Advertising.

How would you describe the Museum?

The Museum shows within an immersive environment how branding, packaging, and society has develop throughout history.

What’s your thoughts on the current focus on Gender in Advertising?

The focus is significant because it shows how representations of men and women have been used in branding, packaging and advertising through different eras, and the progression this has made.

What has the next few months got in store for you?

Currently I am preparing two works, an oil painting and a colour pencil drawing, for a fine art exhibition to be held in May. I am also completing illustrations for a book to be published in June.

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4 The learning team would like to thank Zahra for all her work. If you would like to see more of Zahara’s work please contact her at: zahratharani@outlook.com

Neuroscience: Why People Buy

As part of the Museum’s newly launched Professional Development Programme, Pamella Barotti, Professional Learning Ambassador, will be holding a series of interviews with an enviable range of industry experts.

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Last month Dr Nikki Westoby, Director of Neilson Consumer Neuroscience, led a fantastic interactive talk and live demonstration at the Museum of Brands. Whilst various equipment was being set up, Pamella caught up with Nikki to discuss Neilson Consumer Neuroscience’s work in the context of marketing and advertising.

Firstly, would you introduce yourself briefly?

I did my PHD in Neuroscience, and there was so much interesting theoretical research but I couldn’t see the impact that it was having. When I started getting into applied neuroscience, the things I was finding out made a real difference to people’s businesses and brands day to day, and I saw the real impact of Neuroscience in people’s day to day life.

I started as a consultant and worked with a few marketing research companies, then ended up at Neilson. I get to tell people about how the brain works, in relation to decision making, shopping behaviours and advertisement.

For those who are not marketers, I would describe this topic as when brain science and marketing get together, how would you describe neuro-marketing?

It is really about complimenting insights gathered through market research to get a layer deeper into consumer response. Things that people cannot tell you about because they are not aware of them, such as the things that go on subconsciously in their brains, or maybe because it is hard to put them in words. Emotions, for example is very difficult to talk about because we don’t have the language to describe it, so by adding neuroscience techniques to market research, we are getting underneath the surface to find subconscious reactions and a deeper understanding of emotions.

Other than marketing research, what else is neuro-marketing used for today?

We see it applied advertising, brand building, product design, package design and right back to concept creation.  We work a lot with CPG companies, financial companies and wide range of brands and clients.

We are aware of MRI as one of the techniques, but what are the other techniques or machines that are neuroscience or neuro-marketing using?

There is a lot! MRI is one of them, and this comes with own pros and cons as it is more expensive. It is difficult as well because you need to go hospital. Using EUG measures the electrical activity, and biometrics analyse heart rates, eye tracking and facial coding.

What are you really measuring?

We are measuring reactions. Bodily reactions are the first thing we can measure: the brain influences the eyes, and this feeds through the body. All of these things give us a different element of the reaction of the consumer to the stimulus.

If you’re doing advertising you probably want to know second by second about what’s going on. For this reason we tend to go to EUG, which is great for the detailed speed reading. For static images, eye tracking is important because you want to know where are people looking and how their brain is responding while they are looking. Are they confused? Are they excited? What is the brain signature going on when they are look at the image?

You have worked on many different projects, could you choose one of them you are most proud of?

At the moment my favourite projects are always TV ads, as I love getting into the details with how people react to TV ad. Few years ago, I did work for bank note designers. We were looking at how people spot counterfeit bank notes because people don’t really look at their bank notes. We looked at whether this are there some subconscious trigger that would make people spot a fake, and what this means for luxury industries and designers. That project stood out as being different.

To be honest, when you get into the client and understand what they are struggling with, I think every project I worked on, you’ll find out something new and meaningful to the client. The work always goes back to the day to day impact on businesses.

What are the challenges and opportunities for agencies or companies when deciding to use neuro-marketing?

There are a lot of opportunities to help whatever the question is. The challenge is identifying the right supplier and the right people to partner with you on that. There are a lot of tools and ways to do things, therefore the challenge to brands and businesses is to carefully select who to work with.

There are three things they should consider. Firstly look at a techniques, is the work they doing based on a big body of research support? Secondly, can the company measure what they say they are measuring? You need to be cautious and do your research. The third challenge is, do they have validation and reliability?

The challenge is not be seduced by something that looks exciting that’s great but there’s got to be real solid science to back up.

Let’s say you were conducting a neuro-marketing study in UK, would it different in other parts of the world? How do you take in to account cultural differences?

It depends on what you are doing. Largely speaking, a brain is a brain. We are all human beings and so the way we approach research is same market to market.

On the other hand, there are other things that are culturally specific because experience will change the way we look at things. This all depends on if it is culturally relevant or a universal human truth. Generally speaking, testing is the same in all markets.

There has been discussions around the ethics of neuro-marketing as a new tool to brainwash people. What are your views on this?

There is actually less and less of this fear. A lot of the problem was in the early days of the neuro-marketing industry where there were big claims about what they could achieve with the science about advertising and marketing. The idea was that you read into consumer minds and can just give you the answer! Of course we can’t do that, it’s just another tool to our tool kit. For example survey is a tool, and neuroscience is another kind of tool. They face just the same ethical challenges as surveys but really it is all about creating better experiences for people.

What does the future hold for neuro-marketing?

Right now the trend is going towards integration of techniques. A couple of years ago all these new companies were claiming that their unique tools were the most effective, however the industry is maturing. We are all moving towards to a point where we are understanding which tools would work in which situations and integrating these tools. Each one would tell you a different aspect of human response and so, combining these tools we get a much broader understanding therefore I think it is about integration.

A huge thank you to both Pamella and Nikki for taking part in this interview and sharing their insights and expertise.

Our next event in the Professional Development Programme is
Phil Woodford’s Advertising Masterclass on Monday 12 June. Our programme of talks, events and workshops is set until November, explore the whole series here.

What’s your favourite object?

278A0138webHello!

I’m Helen, a new learning volunteer with the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising. I will be working with Rose on the new Young People’s Programme and Youth Panel. You can read more about it across the website. I will be blogging about my experiences and exciting things happening at the museum while I am here. If like to introduce myself with writing about my favourite object in the Museum….

I have two; I know that’s cheating but I think both are equally interesting and had me delving into research and learning the histories and relevance of the items today. The first being a small perfume bottle: E Rimmel’s Florida Water, London & Paris. There are dozens of elegant perfume bottles inside the Time Tunnel which is the Museum’s main exhibit, and this one in particular caught my interest because it looks like a significant piece of design that would have a desirable weight, texture, and (hopefully) scent. Florida Water is a sweeter, American version of the original Eau de Cologne, but with orange flavoured rather than the traditional lemon.

The second item is not something I would like to smell….! Swinborne’s Patent Refined Isinglass – for invalids and confectionary. After doing some research about Swinborne and the history behind this product I discovered that he and Richard Archer Wallington filed a bill against rival company ‘Nelson’s Gelatine Isinglass’ for using their patent, requesting that they should stop making Isinglass. Visually, this is a really beautiful package for a substance whose methods of creation are less than pretty.

So these are two of my favourite items in the museum’s collection. Come and visit us and let me know what your favourites are!

Helen Young Volunteer

 

 

 

 

Reimagining Recycling

We are pleased to introduce fashion designer Kumiko Tani who is exhibiting three key dresses from her ‘Re-cycle Style’ Collection at the Museum of Brands this summer. We met with Kumiko to find out more about her work.

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How did you come to the idea of making dresses out of chocolate wrappers?
I am interested in up-cycle material. I have made dresses out of newspapers, PET bottles, shopping bags and used fabrics, coffee packaging. Chocolate wrappers are also one of the many materials I use.

Normally my dressmaking starts with collecting material myself or asking people to collect it for me. The material of the dresses I’m showing at the Museum of Brands was sponsored by Lindt Hello chocolate for the Berlin Alternative fashion week. I had more pressure than ever before to not waste this material. I tried to make dresses that would gain value through their production and how they looked. They are very delicate and intricate creations. The dresses were originally shown at the catwalk show at Berlin Alternative fashion week titled “Lindt Hello Chocolate Collection”.

Museum of Brands Kumiko Tani-28 Who or what is your inspiration for the work?
Many people make amazing work using recycled material, and sometimes they also recycle the material itself. Those people are all an inspiration to me. I’m also interested in themes surrounding ethical fashion and sustainability, which I make use of in my own creative way. Of course, I like art and fashion, nature and industry. Basically, all my daily life inspires me.

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Tell us about a bit about how the dresses were made. How long did each dress take to make? Was there some particularly tricky sections or materials you worked with?
I like to use non-fabric material to make dresses, even though they are not very wearable. It’s always very tricky to make them. Before I make the dress, I make many samples to experiment and test the material. For example, I try sewing with the sewing machine, I fold the materials and I also sew by hand. Sometimes I stick the material to paper or fabrics which is the most difficult process.  For the dresses on show at the Museum of Brands I have worked with chocolate packaging, which is the most delicate material. It splits easily and I have had to change the design in the process of making them. The material does not take well to the sewing machine so I have had to hand-sew most of it. It took quite some time to make the detailing of the dresses.
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Do you think the dresses can change ideas around recycling and make it more fun and creative?
I sometimes visit recycling factories to get a better understanding about waste and recycling. For instance at the Eco park, in North London, almost all of their waste is remade into new products or restored and sold on.
If each person can gain a better understanding about waste and over-production, such as fast fashion, free newspaper, over-layering wrapping paper in product packaging, then I hope the amount of waste can reduce.
My approach to recycling is just one of way of doing it. If people who see my work become interested in recycling, and perhaps start to reduce waste, that is very nice!!

Meet Gary the Gardener

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 The Museum is opening its garden as part of the Open Garden Squares Weekend 18th and 19th of June. We met with Gary, who helped create and has looked after the garden since 1988.
Hailing from Canada and moving to London to study psychotherapy at Regent College, Gary Eisenhauer’s green fingers have been integral to the award-winning garden since its first flowering in 1988.  As he lived close by, Gary began to volunteer at the building when it was the London Lighthouse, initially as a receptionist and working in the residential unit.

Eventually plans were made to improve the garden.  He says the garden was “pretty grim” when they started and it was joked amongst staff that “it looked like a prison exercise area” made up of concrete paving and white plastic furniture. It was so stark and bright “the glare meant you had to wear sunglasses”. The London Lighthouse was central in the campaign for raising awareness about HIV and Aids in the 1980’s and spearheaded progressive treatment for the disease. At the height of the crisis 2000 people a week would pass through the building, and the garden became a place of rest and contemplation. Many of the patients who passed away from the disease had their ashes scattered in the garden. Gary remembers how ‘people also sneaked ashes in and had little impromptu services. It was, and still is, an oasis for people.

We have groups from all over the world coming here at any one time. Yesterday we had a bus load of pensioners, who came to sit in the garden, I told them about what happened here. The Lighthouse is part of our history. The garden and building are still visited and much loved by those who volunteered in the centre and who lost loved ones in the crisis.

One of Gary’s favourite memories is a visit by icon Liz Taylor. “She was very small, like a lot of celebrities. Like a princess she smiled gracefully and when she stepped forward the crowd magically parted in awe.” Speaking of Princesses, the British Royal family were also regular visitors most famously Princess Diana. According to Gary “she would turn up in the middle of the night unannounced and patients would wake to find her holding their hands. The garden was opened by Princess Margaret and the crèche by Prince Charles.

Talking about some of the flora and fauna in the garden, Gary points out some of his favourite features including a Kifsgate Rose which is a rambling rose and the largest rose in England. The garden is “stuffed” according to Gary and has been curated in way so that it performs all year round. The flowers are on rotation and there is mixture of native and tropical plants including lilies, banana, kiwi and citrus ensuring the senses are stimulated by lots of wonderful and intriguing scents. The garden was given a kick start by a huge donation of plants from Crabtree and Evelyn’s display after the Chelsea Garden Show and since then has been a winner of awards and categories including the London Garden Society’s Best Garden.

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Gary’s favourite part of the garden is the scented area which is ‘beautiful in the late evening as the scent is really strong. Gary jokingly implies that the garden is popular with ‘the grey-haired brigade’ as gardening is extremely popular and to him as a Canadian the love of gardening seems like a very English trait. He hopes that as the garden continues to grow. School groups can come and learn about nature and young people can be introduced to gardening as a profession.

The Museum of Brands are presenting the magical secret garden for Open Garden Squares Weekend, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June. Visitors are welcomed to enjoy the garden, meet Gary the gardener and enjoy activities for the whole family.

Read more on the Museum’s What’s On page.

Regular Museum admission charges apply.

Press Release: John Lyon’s Charity supports Engaging Young Learners Project at the Museum of Brands

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The Museum of Brands has been awarded a grant from John Lyon’s Charity to increase the number of children and young people engaging with the Museum. The Charity has provided funding to the Museum to deliver the project with young people, educators and families from nine targeted boroughs: Barnet, Brent, Camden, City of London, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.

The Museum will aim to engage 10,000 young people over the next three years, through creating a Youth Panel, new Further Education learning resources and increasing the number of formal sessions to nurseries, schools, colleges and universities from the target boroughs. The funding will help the Museum continue to grow their offer for young people, families and Early Years audiences, in an exciting time where the Museum has moved to new premises in Ladbroke Grove. The funding will help the Museum to be a vibrant local museum for the new area, forming sustainable partnerships with the local community.

 

Rosemary Cronin, Project Manager stated: “The Museum is delighted to receive the support from John Lyon’s Charity. This will enable us to further develop our important work to educate and entertain the public on the subjects of brands, packaging and advertising and their history. This funding will enable us to build upon an existing learning programme, increasing engagement and enjoyment for our audiences.”

A representative from John Lyon’s Charity stated: ‘John Lyon’s Charity are delighted to be working with the Museum of Brands for the first time, at an exciting time of their relocation. The ‘Engaging Young Learners Project’ will help deliver the Charity’s remit to benefit children and young people up to the age of 25 who live in nine boroughs in northwest London: Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster and encourage more young people to access the fascinating collection at the Museum of Brands.

 

Information on Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising.

The Museum was established to create access to a nationally significant collection comprising ½ million examples of everyday household goods and related promotional materials, spanning over 150 years of consumer culture. We preserve and protect our extensive collection for posterity and look for interesting ways to interpret the material to connect with existing and new audiences. Our collecting policy ensures today’s everyday products are preserved for the future. In addition to opening daily for the general public, we offer tailored activities to engage with all stages of formal learning, as well as adult, professional, family and reminiscence programmes.

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For further information and high res images, contact:

Rosemary Cronin, Project Manager: Engaging Young Learners

Ph: 020 7908 0881

Email: rose@museumofbrands.com

 

 

Theresa Macaulay, Museum Manager Ph: 020 7908 0881

Email: theresa@museumofbrands.com

 

 

Registered Charity no: 1093538