Monday, 13 February 2017

Planning Research Trips...

The arrival of the latest newsletter from the Fashion Museum in Bath reminded me that I'd planned to go back this year so I could see A History of Fashion in 100 Objects. It runs until 1st January 2019.

Alongside the main exhibition there's always a second. Recently opened is  Lace in Fashion, which features items from the 16th century up to the 21st, and  runs until the 1st January 2018.

I hope to go in May for a long weekend, but it's not guaranteed, it depends if I can fit it in around other events and some major work at home.

There were a few other museums that I didn't have time to get to on my last visit, The Holburne Museum- you can walk the length of Great Pultney Street and admire the Georgian architecture as you pass by, then you reach Sydney Place and see the Museum across the road- very impressive.

Also the Bath Postal Museum was missed out last time.

If you're going on a research trip, near or far, do you do any specific planning ahead, so you make the best use of your time? Or do you take a more easy-going pace?

If I'm travelling any distance and need to stay overnight then checking rail fares and hotel availability- within budget- is the first task after deciding I'm going.

If you're travelling by car, parking can be an issue in popular locations, and another cost you need to take into account. On our York trip last year we chose a hotel with its own parking, and walked everywhere...

Many places put on festivals and events during the year, which almost guarantees limited hotel choice- plus more people who may be visiting the places you are, so I try to work around these if I can.

Of course there may be a particular occasion/festival taking place that you're interested in so plan and book well in advance.

The websites of the places I intend visiting will usually have a lot of relevant information- especially if it's a large city that gets a lot of tourists and visitors. Other smaller places are sometimes run by councils so may have limited details.

So it's always a good idea to see what available, opening times, entry charges, and directions. There are less well-known gems around the country...

If you have any difficulty walking it's important to know if there's any areas you can't access, or if there's any lift access- many museums have done work to make as many places as accessible as they can, but that's not always been possible.

Likewise photography can be another issue, so I either ring or email the place via their contact details and ask what their policy is.
I'll also check when I get to the venue as sometimes there can be a few areas within an exhibition that are a no-no for cameras, even if the rest of the place it's okay.

Print off a street map of the central area where museums and places of interest are located if there's one available online. You may even be able to buy a small fold-up map when you get to your destination.

Last summer in York, the hotel had photocopies of the map for city layout at the reception desk, making it easy to find which way to go if you got lost, or were aiming for a particular venue.

Weather you can't do much about, but be prepared for it when you pack (unless you're going hiking in the hills or the wild of somewhere when extra precaution are needed) a waterproof jacket that can be folded up into its own bag is ideal.

Don't forget the chargers for your various essential devices (camera, mobile phone, laptop or tablet) or if applicable, spare batteries.

Plus the ever trusty notebook and pens, and something you can put your receipts and leaflets/brochures into for referring back to later, or for recording in your accounts.

Over the years I've learnt to take a photo of information boards connected with the other images I'm taking pictures off.

Information on stonework
being restored at York
Minster
You think you'll remember but you won't, and you might just need to confirm something when you're writing.







But most of all, leave time to just take in the atmosphere and enjoy the place you're visiting. It shouldn't all be work...

A lazy Sunday morning in York...


Is there anything you always do when you're planning a visit somewhere, or do you go with the flow?

Perhaps I plan too much... :-)












13 comments:

  1. If I'm going somewhere new, I usually have a look on Google Street view first, checking out car parks and so on. I don't think you can plan too much, Carol, you have to do what works for you. Planning can be part of the fun :-)

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    1. I really must try using Google Street view when looking for hotels- nothing worse than staying somewhere that has lots of traffic passing by all day.

      Yes, planning can be enjoyable, Teresa. :-) x

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  2. A great handy guide to anyone planned great a research trip. Mine was to a Greek island!

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    1. Thanks, Wendy.

      Going abroad to another country to research can bring other challenges I suspect. :-)

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  3. I do wish I could to Bath more easily! I usually go with the flow to some extent and always have my camera with me for visual reminders.

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    1. That's the difficulty for writers, Rosemary, we either live too far away so the journey becomes a mammoth expedition and very expensive, or it's somewhere where we can't easily access.

      Digital cameras are the writer's friend. :-) x

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  4. My research trips (like my other trips) don't usually involve detailed planning. Generally though I hope to get a general impression of a place, not to discover particular facts.

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  5. That's interesting, Patsy. Though I know from your blog you do pick up a number of facts along the way. ;)

    I'm sure it's useful having a mobile home away from home to assist in the travels. I wonder if I can persuade my husband a campervan would be useful. :)

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  6. I don't plan much other than travel arrangements, and carrying a notebook and camera. My research is more of an organic process.

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  7. Such useful advice! I haven't gone on a research trip yet, and may never do so, but I have considered them in the past. I will keep this info safe for future reference.

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  8. Hello. You should publish a 'How to Plan' guide, Carol. Very informative and thank you for some good tips - especially taking a photograph of written material. Happy planning in 2017!
    Ange x

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  9. Good idea about the info boards.

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  10. Thanks Angela, that's a good idea.

    Ana I've found it really helps when I'm writing later and for adding tags to my photos.

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