Each week we take a look at what’s been going on with Norfolk’s Teaching Museum Trainees. Today we see Morgan, curatorial trainee at Ancient House and Lynn Museum.
It has been six months since I last wrote a blog post about my work (I have however written some ‘featured object’ posts, which you can find here and here), but it’s not because I haven’t been up to much!
Before Christmas, a lot of my time at Ancient House was dedicated to working on the latest temporary exhibition, Flint Rocks. I was responsible for one graphic panel, the interactive table, and a section of the further information folder and my tasks included research, writing text, sourcing images, and liaising with the graphic designer. I even had to find and edit the sound of a flint lithophone (a xylophone-like instrument)! As the intended audience for each part is quite different – the graphic panel is for general museum visitors, whereas the interactive table is aimed at young children, and the further information folder is mainly read by especially interested visitors – I had to tailor my writing to each audience. For the graphic panel, I also learnt how to write in the Ekarv format. Ekarv is a way of making text more accessible through using simple sentence structures and adding line breaks at natural pauses (among other rules) and is quite common in museums. In between writing text and devising ‘flinty facts’ for the interactive table, I also went to West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village to collect a flint necklace for the exhibition. Earlier in the year, I had arranged the loan of the necklace, which was crafted by Bill Basham, the same flint knapper who made Ancient House’s beautiful flint alphabet. It was a busy period, but incredibly satisfying to see it all come together.
One of my ongoing projects has been to create new handling boxes for school sessions. Armed with guidelines from GEM and a small budget, I set about creating two Romans boxes – one for Ancient House and one for Lynn Museum. To do this, I recruited and trained a small team of volunteers who work with me on a weekly basis, researching topics, selecting objects, packing them in plastazote (an archival quality foam-like material), and producing accompanying written material. John and Tracey have been working with me for six months now and more recently, we welcomed Dotte to our team. Our two Romans boxes are now in use, we have finished two ‘Awe-ful Archaeology’ boxes, and we are currently repacking existing a Tudors box and working with a freelancer to create a new Stone Age Box.
At Lynn Museum, I have been continuing work on the audit and foyer displays, as well as supervising a gigapixel photography project for an online platform for the last few weeks. I have been sworn to secrecy and cannot release any more details until the launch, but it is a really exciting development for the museum. It was also a wonderful opportunity to work more closely with the art collection. As glazed artworks could not be photographed, conservator Sarah from Norwich came over to our stores to train me in how to de-frame paintings and works on paper. With two other trainees, Daisy and Shaz, and Sam from Collections Management, we de-framed dozens and dozens of works! Excitingly, we also photographed a timber from Seahenge and I’m really looking forward to zooming in on the details on the wood.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to catching up on all the work that accumulated while the photographer was here. As the end of my traineeship approaches, the rush to finish projects and tie up loose ends has begun!