Hampshire Cultural Trust is undertaking a major research project to expand and reclaim information about the internationally significant collection of ceramics at the Allen Gallery in Alton.

Volunteers are working alongside staff to research and conserve objects, think of new ways to showcase them, and share their stories with visitors and online audiences.

This activity is part of a year-long project, Rediscovering the Allen Gallery, to unearth untold stories of the collections, develop more volunteer opportunities, strengthen existing relationships with community groups and local partners, and forge new ones.

The long-term goal is a capital works redevelopment of the building. Funding for the first year of the scheme has been received from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The community research programme will improve museum records by creating an up-to-date inventory of items and photographing them. The research will focus on social history and previously under-represented histories to develop themes for the objects’ interpretation and display in the gallery.

The team will showcase objects with significant stories throughout the process and share them in the museum, via the trust’s digital publication Culture On Call and on the trust collections website.

The gallery has an impressive and varied selection of pottery, porcelain and tiles dating from 1250 to the present day. The ceramics on display there form part of a much larger collection cared for by the trust, stored in Winchester, which is also being researched as part of the project.

Deborah Neubauer, the trust’s community and impact director, said: “We are very excited to begin to share the stories behind the fascinating collection of ceramics at the Allen Gallery.

“The collections team of both staff and volunteers is working hard to rediscover the important history of these objects, how they contribute to the history of Alton and their significance both nationally and internationally.”

For more information, and to find out how to support the project, visit www.hampshireculture.org.uk/rediscovering-allen-gallery