Cutting Edge: Revealing hidden stories in a cross-cultural collection of arms and armour

Phantom shield

Oct 2006 - March 2008


The Designation Challenge Fund has just awarded £98,571.00 to fund ‘Cutting Edge’, a new project which will focus on the research, interpretation and upgrading of digital records for the Upper Gallery displays of weaponry and armour. This is the fourth in a series of awards for such work on the Museum’s permanent displays, which have supported the development of our highly successful educational and research services.

Cutting Edge will approach the arms and armour displays afresh, discovering the hidden histories and meanings behind the objects. Topical links and relevant themes will be developed in consultation with special interest and local community groups. Alongside this work on research and interpretation, a separate team will undertake systematic cataloguing and photography for each object, enhancing the Museums collections database.

This award for Cutting Edge follows on from the success of the DCF funded Court Project, (which catalogued 32,400 objects) and What’s Upstairs? (which catalogued a further 43,299 objects). Cutting Edge aims to add a further 10,000 enhanced records to the database. The first award developed the digital database, based on the original hand-written card index; the database now stores all the information held on the collections.

Director Michael O’Hanlon said "The Pitt River Museum’s arms and armour collections are outstanding. This further handsome grant from the Designation Challenge Fund will make knowledge about these wonderful collections even more accessible for the increasing number of visitors expected following the opening of the Museum's new extension in 2007."

Some stories from the project

The project ouputs can be found on the Arms and Armour website. 


Contemporary battle shield,
Wahgi people, Papua New Guinea
PRM 2002.22.1