Museum officer awarded bursary to research Blitz collections

A learning development officer from Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery has secured a research bursary set up by the family of a former long-serving member of staff.

Maureen Attrill worked at Museum and Art Gallery for nearly 33 years before her sudden death in February 2011.

During that time she demonstrated an immense commitment to developing the art collections, acquired new and exciting pieces for the Museum collections and produced a wide variety of high quality exhibitions.

Thanks to the generosity of Maureen’s family, and the administrative support of the Friends of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, a new bursary scheme has been established in her memory to support research into topics related to the city’s art collections.

Applications were open to museum staff from the South West, students from Plymouth University, the University of St Mark & St John and Plymouth College of Art and members of the University of the Third Age.

The successful applicant for 2015 is Tony Davey, learning development officer (communities) here at the Council.

Between now and the summer of 2016 Tony will have £900 of funding support to research the fine art collections acquired by the Museum and Art Gallery between 1945 and 1962. His bursary will cover research trips to Coventry and London, books and printing costs.

Museums and heritage manager Hilary Bracegirdle said: “Plymouth suffered major devastation as a result of heavy bombing during the Second World War. As a result of this the city underwent a massive rebuilding program at a time when materials and money were in very short supply.

“Tony will be looking at how the museum’s acquisition policy was affected by the austerity of the time. He will also be examining what impact the use of art and artists in the construction of important buildings in the city had on our collecting policy. His proposal is very timely given the period of austerity we are currently in and the exciting few years of ‘reconstruction’ we have ahead of us with the forthcoming History Centre. We’re really looking forward to seeing the results of what he discovers.”

Deputy Council Leader Peter Smith said: “Maureen was extremely dedicated to her work at the museum and highly respected by her colleagues and the wider art community. It is very fitting that her significant contribution will be remembered through the future understanding and development of local art collections.

Tony will conduct his research over the next 12 months before producing an illustrated report and giving a series of talks in the summer of 2016, as part of our commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the Blitz.

Applications for the Maureen Attrill Bursary will open again in early 2016.

To find out more about the art collections at the Museum and Art Gallery visit our collections page.