NMU logoNeed, Make, Use

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, VERVE is a £1.6 million, five-year project, supporting vital conservation and redisplay of selected cases, plus improvements to gallery lighting. It will also facilitate a wide-ranging programme of free public activities under the theme of 'Need, Make, Use', illuminating the ways in which human creativity and ingenuity has driven developments in design and technologies. 

Here you will find links to featured objects, Need Make Use events and activities, and project photos and progress on our need, make, use blog.

Salmon skin boots

Object of the Month

Salmon skin boots, Japan

Until the early 20th century, the Ainu of Japan (Hokkaido) and Russia (Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands) were hunter-gatherers for whom salmon was a staple food source. In the summer, Ainu might go barefoot, but in the harsh winters they often wore waterproof boots (chepkeri) made of dried and stretched salmon skin. Each pair might require up to six fish skins to be stitched together, using salmon that had already spawned for their thicker, stronger skins. The boots were stuffed with dried grass for insulation, and were often worn with rope sandals to protect the soles from being torn by stones or ice. PRM: 1900.78.35

One of many skin, hide or leather objects to be displayed in the Lower Gallery as part of the VERVE: Need / Make / Use project project.

Previous Objects of the Month

NMU day


Pitt Fest: Need/Make/Use Day

Saturday 6 September, 11.00-17.00 (FREE)

Celebrate the ingenuity and human spirit in the Pitt Rivers collections at our free, one-day event. Visit the Family Crafts Village for hands-on fun, explore the Workshop Zone to make music or try out ancient technologies, and pick up locally made crafty goods at the Handmade Market. Enjoy street food and live performances, and make discoveries inside the Museum on an object trail or guided tour... More details

Haida box

Woodcarvers gathering – Haida Great Box

Thursday 18 September
10.00 –12.00 or 14.00 –16.00 (FREE)

Booking essential – limited spaces available

The knowledge encoded in the Haida Great Box at the Pitt Rivers Museum will be unlocked by two carvers from Haida Gwaii during their museum residency this September. Brothers Jaalen and Gwaii Edenshaw will carve a new version of the box based on the original, refining contemporary Haida artistic technique through their own study of this fascinating object.

Jaalen and Gwaii are opening their ‘studio’ to fellow woodcarvers, specifically those who use mostly hand tools (sculptors, furniture-makers, etc). The sessions will allow the chance to observe them at work, exchange knowledge, ask questions and see the historic box from close up.

For further information, and to book a place for either the morning or afternoon session, please email Maya

carfty afternoon


October to December 2014
Tuesdays 13.30 – 16:30 (FREE)

Booking essential – limited spaces available

Come along with your children for a series of free afternoons of crafts inspired by the Museum’s collections! Led by crafter Sarah Cullen, you’ll work on a panel that will become part of a larger Pitt Rivers Crafternoon quilt over the course of five afternoons.

Download full details about the Crafternoon series, including dates(PDF)

For further information and to book a place please email Maya

special events

Special events at the Pitt Rivers

List of Need/Make/Use events taking place at the Museum

Visit the Need, Make, Use blog NMU logo