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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.

Object of the Month

Object of the Month - April

Pirate ship ornament, China

This painted wooden fish has a vertical hole from it’s belly to back and was likely attached to a mast or a prow pole on a seagoing vessel, the red cotton tail catching the wind behind like a pennant. Not just any vessel however, but a Chinese pirate junk.

On 9 November 1929, the China Merchants Steam Navigation Company’s steamship Hsin Chi became stranded in fog and was attacked, looted and burnt by pirates. The donor’s husband, Commander Percival, and his crew aboard HMS Serapis reached the wreck and captured the pirates and their junks, who were later transferred to a Chinese gunboat. PRM 1976.16.1

One of several paddles and prows retrieved from storage and displayed as part of the VERVE: Need / Make / Use project.

Previous Objects of the Month

Folk weekend.

Folk Weekend Oxford

Saturday 26-Sunday 27 April 2014

We’re teaming up with Folk Weekend Oxford, to fill the Museum with all things Folk!

Join us for storytelling, live acoustic performances and family ‘make and take’ activities whilst exploring our galleries. There’ll also be Morris dancing and Korean drumming performances on the lawn on Saturday, and folk themed craft workshops on the Sunday.

In town? Why not visit our pop-up tent in Gloucester Green between 10.00 and 17.00 to try traditional games such as Mancala and Hopscotch, to try out some crafts, and handle objects.

Find out more about this event and other outreach


NMU day


Need/Make/Use Day

Saturday 6 September 2014, 11.00-17.00 (FREE)

Celebrate the diversity of global creativity and ingenuity represented in our collections at our summer spectacular.

Expect interaction, music, performance and workshops galore!

Have a look at 2013’s Need/Make/Use Day for an idea of what 2014’s event will have in store.

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