Welcome to my Museum Buddies project blog about working in museums, past, present and future. I will still be adding occasionally to the East Midlands Food blog at www.digitalengagementnetwork.org/eastmidlandsfood, based on last year’s research project, but will now be focusing on the experience of working in museums in the region from the middle of the 19th century to the present. I’ll be asking who set them up and why, and looking at some past debates about what should be collected, how it should be displayed, and the whole purpose of museums in a wider social and educational context – some of which may sound faintly familiar in the here and now.
I’m also planning to look at the great range of work that is done in museums in the East Midlands by both paid staff and volunteers, and how this has developed and changed over the years. As well as trawling the archives for historical information, I’ll be talking to people working in different roles now to find out exactly what they involve, and looking at education and training for museum staff. I’ll also be drawing on my own experience of working as an Education Officer at Leicester City Museums in the 1990s, and more recently as the former Project Manager of the East Midlands Oral History Archive and Workforce Development Officer at MLA East Midlands.
If that all sounds rather serious, I can promise you lots of moments of light relief, ranging from some of the comments and questions of children visiting museums, to the outraged reaction of a visitor to an exhibition of contemporary art in 1913 who had to visit again to make sure it was as bad as he thought, and how Georgie the Giraffe was transported from New Walk Museum in Leicester to his new home at Wollaton Hall near Nottingham (where I believe he is now known as Geoffrey). And I’d really welcome your own comments and questions about working in museums – either as someone who does, or one who wonders what curators, conservators and others actually do.
About Museum Work