Weston-super-mare Museum, North Somerset. Museum Supervisor (September 2014 - Present)
Weston-super-mare Museum is currently in the second round of a major funding bid with the Heritage Lottery Fund and has great potential to develop and grow both its curatorial offer and its community engagement possibilities.
I joined the museum as the senior staff member, in order to contribute to this application, as well as coordinating and improving the existing provision. A major part of my role includes overseeing and developing the front of house activities from the shop and cafe, to the events and exhibitions schedule. These duties include aspects such as staff management, marketing and overseeing budgets.
The Lloyd Gill Gallery, North Somerset. Marketing and Collections Development Internship (August 2012 - October 2012)
The Lloyd Gill Gallery is a small, independent, contemporary art gallery, which displays both local and international artists. My internship with the gallery involved a variety of marketing tasks from updating news feeds and media sources, whilst monitoring their impact, to producing newsletters. The gallery is currently planning an expansion and the development of a permanent ethnographical art collection. In order to assist with this process, I researched items for acquisition, designed displays and sourced premises in order to develop funding proposals
Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth (May 2012 - July 2012)
Aspex Gallery is a busy, community-centred display and events space with both a temporary exhibition space and a craft focussed commercial side. Whilst at the gallery, I assisted with a variety of events and exhibition openings, liasing with artists and craftspeople. I also assisted with general housekeeping duties, as well as updating media sources
The Gallery at Winchester Discovery Centre, Winchester. Invigilator role (October 2011 – July 2012)
The Gallery is a small space within the Discovery Centre that hosts temporary exhibitions. As an invigilator within the Gallery, my duties included supervising work on display as well as interacting with visitors and answering enquiries. One of the recent exhibitions on display was called ‘Figures in the Landscape’ and featured sculptures by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore amongst a variety of others.
Image taken from Hampshire County Council website
Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport (Spring 2012)
The Submarine Museum attracts visitors of all ages and they currently have an exhibition linked with the ‘Horrible Science’ range of children’s books named ‘The Horrible Science of Submarines’. For this exhibition, I was commissioned to create a series of bespoke costumes for children, inspired by the creepy bugs and objects that could have been found on board the submarine.
Killerton House and Gardens - Costume Collection; The National Trust, Devon (June – July 2011)
Killerton House is the home of the National Trust’s costume collection; it’s curator Shelley Tobin has spent many years researching and displaying it. Whilst shadowing Shelley Tobin, I was able to assist with a whole range of daily tasks including documentation, display and visitor engagement. In addition to this, I was tasked with the organisation of a replica fashion show, which used copies of garments actually in the collection. The show took place as part of special day of summer visitor activities and was wonderfully received, creating positive feedback for the property.
Shelley Tobin is also the costume curator for the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. Whilst on my placement, I was able to accompany her to view the collections both in storage and as they were being prepared for the major redisplay, which is now in place.
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery - Costume Collection, Brighton (March 2010 – June 2011)
Whilst studying in Brighton, I volunteered weekly within the costume collection, working with its curator Martin Pel. Throughout this placement I was able to assist with all the aspects of collections and display management. This enabled me to develop proficiency with costume care and mounting skills, including everything from packing and storage to creating foundation undergarments for display.
I also assisted with the organisation of the ‘Dress to Impress’ exhibition, which was displayed throughout the Brighton Pavillion. The exhibition focussed on Regency dress and included George VI’s Coronation Robe, which was loaned from Historic Royal Palaces. The sewing skills that I developed through my previous fashion design course meant that I was able to assist not only with padding and preparing mannequins for the exhibition, but also with constructing properly researched replica garments.
Brighton Museum has a community blog and many of the volunteers and employees have written accounts of their work there. My blog entry can be read by clicking here.
Worthing Museum and Art Gallery - Costume Collection, Worthing (July 2010)
As Worthing Museum is a relatively small local museum, much of its collections have had relatively sparse research and documentation carried out on them. The museum still uses an index card system, rather than a computer catalogue, which takes a while to become familiar with. This voluntary placement involved working on the documentation and cataloguing of the museum’s extensive glove collections, which included checking locations, making amendments and properly packing items.
Image taken from University of Brighton website
The Victoria and Albert Museum - Fashion Department, London (August 2009)
As part of its ongoing review of storage areas, the Victoria and Albert Museum conducts an annual audit of its collections. During the summer of 2009, I undertook a voluntary placement that included assisting with the audit as well as a wide variety of other activities. The tasks I conducted ranged from documentation, packing and cataloguing new acquisitions to organising props and monitoring environmental controls. Because the audit activities were conducted across the entire collections, I was able to become familiar with the huge scope of items that the museum holds throughout its vast storage facilities.
Image taken from V&A website
Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Bath. Steward role (July 2008 – February 2009)
Whilst working in the position of a museum steward at the Herschel House Museum of Astronomy in Bath, I developed a first-hand understanding of the requirements and challenges of working within a small local museum. As the sole member of staff on duty during weekends, I was required to take responsibility for the museum premises, including security and surveillance procedures and general operational routines. I also performed the accompanying roles of a guide, interpreter and gift shop worker. This position gave me knowledge of the aims, expectations and general needs of the average visitor, including a consideration for disabled visitors. As the museum was a listed building, it was unable to accommodate a lift or other disabled access and therefore had an interactive audio-visual unit to enable virtual tours.
Image taken from Herchel Museum Facebook page
The Museum of Fashion, Bath (July 2007)
As well as redisplaying the main permanent display areas, during 2007 the Museum of Fashion held its ‘Pick of the Bunch’ exhibition. This voluntary placement included assisting with the organisation of both of these activities. This included displaying items, assembling promotional material, constructing display backdrops and supervising stewards for the opening preview. In addition to this, I also assisted with general everyday tasks, such as documentation, research and responding to visitor enquiries.