The Museums + Heritage Show 2016 top 10 picks

This year’s Museums + Heritage Show takes place on May 18 and 19 at Olympia in London and includes more than 40 free talks, an Ask the Expert section and updates from sector leaders. Here we profile ten talks to get you in the mood for two days of wall-to-wall museums and heritage activity

John Orna-Ornstein addresses a crowd at last year's Show

Funding at a time of challenge: Arts Council England’s plans for investment

John Orna-Ornstein ACE’s Director of Museums will talk about the challenges facing the sector and how ACE plans to address them in its investment and development role from 2018-22. There will also be the chance for the audience to have their say in a question and answer session.

HLF will be discussing learning & participation

Heritage & Learning with HLF

Melissa Strauss & John McMahon, Policy Advisers – Learning & Participation; Heritage Lottery Fund share perspectives on the upcoming work of HLF’s Learning & Participation team, accompanied by a discussions on innovation and ambition in heritage work, with a focus on their own practice with children and young people.

Historic Royal Palaces discuss what visitors mean by 'authentic'. Pictured is Hampton Court Palace one of HRP's properties

Touching the past – visitors’ views on the ‘authentic’

Aileen Peirce, Creative Programming & Interpretation Manager, Historic Royal Palaces and Jo Hargreaves, Director, Morris Hargreaves McIntyre talk about how visitors tell them they come to museums and heritage sites for the “real thing”. And they will be discussing what do they actually mean by authenticity and how does it influence their experience? Historic Royal Palaces will share the results of a wide-ranging research project which investigated how visitors understand authenticity – what it means to them, whether it matters, how it affects engagement and how these views might inform interpretation and display decisions.

York Theatre Royal together with the National Railway Museum worked together on sharing visitors

Your visitors are not just for you – Working Collaboratively with York Theatre Royal & National Railway Museum

With every town and city offering a range of cultural attractions, how can cultural organisations work together for mutual benefit? Abbigail Ollive, Marketing Manager, York Theatre Royal will present a case study on how she worked with the National Railway Museum to delve into their population segments to get the best results.

The Whitworth Art Gallery at The University of Manchester has had incredible success following last year's redevelopment, which put visitors' needs at its core

Redefining the Whitworth by focusing on Visitors

Last February the Whitworth Art Gallery at The University of Manchester completed a £15m redevelopment that transformed the gallery. The past year has seen unexpectedly high visitor numbers and numerous awards, including Museum of the Year. Amy George, Curator (Textiles & Wallpapers) at The Whitworth will explore the lessons learnt and how the Whitworth became the organisation it is today by focusing on its visitors.

Great North Museum: Hancock is part of TWAM, which will be talking about hazardous materials in museums

Managing hazardous material in collections

Chanté St Claire-Inglis, Collections Care Manager, National Museums Scotland; Dawn Stoker, Conservation Officer, Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums and Laura Walsh, Registrar, Royal Armouries on behalf of NMDC give insight into recent work across national museums to manage hazards in collections including asbestos, radioactive material and firearms whilst also considering the need for public access.

The Lost Palace is a new visitor attraction opening in July and will be giving a progress report on its use of technology

The Lost Palace: from prototypes to visitor experience

GPS beating hearts, Shakespearean binaural sound and conspiratorial magic tricks. Last year at the Show visitors heard how Historic Royal Palaces had adopted completely new approaches to historical storytelling by working in new ways with new people. This year, Tim Powell, Digital Producer at HRP, will share what they learned from these open calls and prototype development – and how they are developing these experimental ideas into a family-friendly visitor offer for Banqueting House in 2016.

Oxford University Museums Partnership (of which the Ashmolean pictured is part of) and East Riding Museums and Galleries talk about sharing knowledge for mutual benefit

Doing things differently: working in partnership

Nial Adams, Museums Manager, East Riding Museums and Galleries (Humber Museums Partnership) and Lucy Shaw, Head of the Oxford University Museums Partnership, Programme Director, Oxford Cultural Leaders, Oxford University Museums on behalf of NMDC will talk about how to mitigate some of the impact of declining public investment by delivering core functions in partnership. This session looks at partnerships based on geographic proximity, similar collections and as a means of sharing knowledge.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty was one of last year's most popular paid for exhibitions and at this year's Show there will be a behind the scenes look at how it was developed

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Kate Bethune, Senior Research Assistant, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, V&A takes a look behind the scenes at the curatorial and design processes and challenges of this blockbuster exhibition.