Northampton Museum and Art Gallery to put shoe archive online
- 8 March 2014
- From the section Northampton
One of the largest shoe collections in the world is to be catalogued online.
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery holds 12,000 pairs of shoes, from David Beckham's football boots to shoes dating back to 1000BC.
Northampton Borough Council hopes to put an image and description of every shoe online to "inspire" designers and generate income from image licensing.
Arts Council England said it would give audiences abroad the chance to "explore Northampton's shoe-making legacy".
Northampton first started making shoes in the 15th Century and by 1841 there were 1,821 shoemakers in the town.
Nowadays, just a handful of companies remain but they have proved successful at selling luxury and bespoke footwear around the world.
The museum has been collecting shoes since the 1870s and in 1997 the archive was recognised for its international importance by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
Bosses now hope to put the collection online by 2016, thanks to a £70,000 grant from the Arts Council.
Brandon Eldred, cabinet member responsible for museums, said: "This is a great opportunity for us to showcase the collection and share it with the widest possible audience.
"It is also an opportunity for us to tap into income streams that are open to museums to generate income from image licensing.
"At the moment we licence our images for a fee but can't satisfy all enquirers as the quality of images we have isn't always good enough."
Peter Knott, area director of Arts Council England, said: "Investing in digital technology will make it easier for people interested in shoe design to access the Northampton shoe collection.
"It will also allow international audiences to explore Northampton's shoe-making legacy."