Meeting the Ivory Bangle Lady

Our visit to the Yorkshire Museum allowed us to meet our subject 'in the flesh'.

Last Thursday we took the long trip up to York to visit the burial site of the Ivory Bangle Lady and review the space we have to play with inside the Yorkshire Museum.

The museum itself is very impressive and has put in place some great installations and digital media to help people engage with the exhibits. As you walk through the front door, through the reception and into the main atrium you are greeted with a large display mirroring the door you just entered through. Here you see a scene of Rome with people meandering past at their leisure. The small touchscreen in front of the display encourages you to choose a character - one of whom is the Ivory Bangle Lady herself.

After selecting her from the screen she casually walks onto the main display, leans on the rail and chats to you about her life. The picture shows myself and Dr Stephany Leach dressed in the Roman costumes the museum offers stood either side of the Ivory Bangle Lady giving her speech.

Dr Stephany Leach and Paul Davies dressed as Romans

The presentation is very good and visitors were sitting around the edge of the display and watching and listening to the full 2 - 3 minute presentation. It did throw up some things which we will need to consider with our project though:

– This will be the first thing people see as the room with her remains is next door;

– There may be quite a delay between this display and seeing her remains depending on which way people move around the museum;

– There are parts of her speech in the presentation that gives ‘facts’ which are actually things we wish to pull out as questions;

The first two points can be overcome with some directional signage or something that links the display to the room where they will meet her. The second could be slightly more problematic. In her speech she gives her name but really this is one of the things we don’t know; she introduces her bangles and comes across as a very fashion conscious young lady; she states she was born in Tulisia and has spent most of her life in Rome and that her father is a prefect. All of this is really things we want to bring out as questions about how we start to find these things out but that we still don’t really know.

So how do we integrate her remains and the questions surrounding them after people have experienced meeting her ‘in the flesh’?