The second part of my HLF-funded British Museum ‘Future Curators’ placement began in spring 2013 when I started working as a curatorial trainee at Manchester Museum with the Curator of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Dr. Campbell Price. I’ve been very lucky to have had the opportunity already to work on a wide range of projects including outreach and education, museum tours, and object research; recently I helped out with the refreshment of the Discovering Archaeology gallery (see photo above), when I gained valuable experience of object handling as all of the objects were temporarily removed from the gallery while the work was going on.
This particular job wasn’t quite as easy as it sounds: some of the objects were very heavy or very fragile for example, and it was very important to ensure the safety and security of all the objects as they were moved to and from the museum store, but it was very enjoyable – it’s not every day that you get the chance to handle beautiful Bronze Age gold jewellery or Roman coin hoards!
I will be here in Manchester until December 2013, so I’ve still got a bit of time left to make sure I gain a well-rounded curatorial experience! The third and final round of the Future Curators programme will be advertised shortly and I highly recommend that you apply if you too dream one day of being a museum curator…
The ‘Future Curators’ Programme gives five trainees, with a range of different specialisations, the opportunity to spend six months working and gaining curatorial skills at the British Museum, then a further 12 months working as a curatorial trainee in one of the British Museum’s UK Partner Museums, using those practical skills in the workplace. This programme is a unique opportunity to gain first-hand practical curatorial experience which is ideal preparation for a future career as a museum curator; this year trainees specialised in the areas of Middle East, Asia, Prehistory & Europe, Oceania, and Egypt and Sudan.
From June-December 2012 I worked in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum – a place I’ve wanted to work since I was a child! – assisting the Assistant Keeper of the Sudanese and Nubian collection, Dr. Derek Welsby. During this time I had the opportunity to work on many different projects including gallery redevelopment, collections care, object documentation, and exhibitions and loans.
For example, I was involved in the organisation and installation of a long-term loan of Sudanese material from the British Museum, including pottery, stone axes and jewellery, which was requested for Manchester Museum’s newly-refurbished Discovering Archaeology gallery. This was an exciting project for which I was asked to choose the objects for loan, to write the label, to help with the loan documentation and to actually come to Manchester and install those objects in their new case, which you are able to see today.