In the second part of Fiona Fitheridge’s blog, looking at Doors Open Day, preparation is key. Part one is available here
From our initial interest in Doors Open Day, we had over a year to prepare. But how to tell the story.
While the ideas on how to tell our story bubbled away at the back of our minds, we got on with the day to day work of the Institute. We had conferences, events, newsletters, meetings, policy consultations, interviews, but we were also looking at other ways we could celebrate our 130th anniversary. This led to coffee mornings, lunches and more besides. It was okay though, we still had plenty of time…
In late 2018, we started working on a new online history section for our website. We worked with a historical researcher and writer, who made good use of the QNIS archive and other papers to bring together highlights of our story. We didn’t want the website to be a traditional timeline with significant dates popping off a central spoke. It is in a state of constant evolution and it is a great starting place for people to find out more about Queen’s Nursing. And it gave us the starting point for our display.
By the time of our Annual Conference in April, the history website pages were live and we had met with a designer about how and what to display in the boardroom and started to curate photos. We decided to have a large feature wall with a timeline of the Institute. The deadline to have the room ready was 28th September and it still felt like we had lots of time…
Along with the wall display telling our history, we wanted to show the importance of nurses working in their communities, across different roles, across Scotland, across the years. Our designer worked with us to create a mural that showed this, which complemented the timeline display. The hardest part for both us and the designer was curating the right images for both walls as we had so many fantastic images from which to choose.
Our intention was for the displays to remain permanent fixtures of the building, so we worked hard to make sure they would remain relevant and interesting for future visitors to our boardroom.
We also considered that a lot of visitors for Doors Open were going to be coming to Castle Terrace not because of their interest in nursing and QNIS, but because they were curious about the building and its architecture.
I started researching our building and discovered two great sources. I would like to thank Canmore and Duncan McAra (the expert on James Gowans, the architect who designed Castle Terrace). They were both generous with their knowledge and material and extremely helpful. Thanks to them I was able to produce information sheets about our building, its design and how we used it. I was confident we could answer most people’s questions and decided that I had time to research and write some more information sheets about aspects of our history that wouldn’t fit on the history timeline wall. The plan was that after Doors Open we could link them into the history website pages.
Would we be ready on time? …