These last two weeks have made me feel more welcome and at home at the museum. Each morning the Humanities department will meet downstairs in the museum café (with staff prices!) and share a tea or a coffee and chat about what they’ve been up to, their personal lives, and what they’re working on professionally. For me, this is a great networking experience, as well as a great way to discover more about what the museum does beyond my own projects that I have been working on with my manager.
When I arrived at the museum, I was told there would be some difficult news. The objects I had been planning on working with (1960s collection regarding popular culture, music, film, television, and sexuality) had been quarantined. QUARANTINED! Mould had been discovered on some items, and as a precaution, this meant the whole collection (which had previously been held in a Melburnian woman’s garage for the last 50 years) had to be put in the deep freezer. This was actually a routine procedure for the museum; yet incredibly unfortunate timing for a student intern to have flown from England for this collection.
This is what my manager refers to as “the real world”. Meaning the everyday, routine, and realistic museum world. Instead of working with the collection directly, I am writing a length report on the collection (including its cultural, social, and local historical significance) that will be used in order to release funds for the restoration of the collection. What a valuable experience for me! I am now able to say I helped guarantee over $10,000 in funding for a restoration project. Asking for money (and getting it)…an incredibly valuable skill for someone wishing to work in museums and the heritage sector. More next week!