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.

Object of the Month

Object of the Month

Headrest, Democratic Republic of Congo

Unlike pillows, headrests allow the head to remain cool in hot climates. In the Democratic Republic of Congo it is certainly hot and among some cultural groups, elaborate hairstyles are a signifier of status, so a headrest prevents the hair from getting crushed when sleeping. This headrest was made by the Mbala people of the Kwilu-Kwango river area. Headrests with carved figures as supports are characteristic of Central Africa and this example exemplifies the geometric forms and stylised body parts of Mbala art. It was collected in 1905-06 by Hungarian anthropologist and colonial administrator, Emil Torday. PRM 1907.21.1

One of more than 70 headrests redisplayed as part of the VERVE: Need / Make / Use project.

Previous Objects of the Month

volunteers with masks

Marriotts Walk Shopping Centre

Thursday 21 August, 09.00 - 17.00

Join us in our touring Museum tent as we set up amid the shops of Witney’s Marriotts Walk shopping centre. We’re taking over a corner of this retail haven, offering shoppers and other visitors a chance to handle objects and have a go at crafts inspired by the Pitt Rivers’ collections.

For further information, visit our Outreach page.


NMU day


Need/Make/Use Day

Saturday 6 September, 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