The Wandering Museum Consultant

What is the Wandering Museum Consultant?

Short Answer: A crazy idea.

Proper Answer: An experienced museum professional wandering around the world, and spending time at a variety of museums offering my services as a volunteer consultant. Throughout, I will be blogging about each museum, the region/country and the project itself.

The purpose of the Wandering Museum Consultant is two-fold:

1) The museums will benefit from:

  • Extra help from an experienced museum professional
  • Exposure to non traditional markets through my blog

2) I will benefit:

  • Experience in different types of museums and in different countries
  • Develop a network (perhaps connect those I work with with each other as well)
  • Meaningful travel

I have seven years experience working in museums, primarily in Canada, but also in the UK. I have had the opportunity to work in small museums, where I have been able to develop skills in many different areas, including education programming and delivery, collections management and research, exhibition research and design, volunteer management and museum governance. In October 2012 I was honoured with an Ontario Museum Association’ Promising Leadership Award of Excellence for my body of work. Please check out my C.V. for more on my experience and accomplishments.

Currently, I am putting together an initial short term Wandering Museum Consultant program for this summer (a bit of a trial run). I will be spending the summer in Europe, and I am looking for 3 more 2 week placements in the UK or Europe. I am doing these placements on a volunteer basis, however, I greatly appreciate a donation of housing where I go (this does not need to be private accommodation, I am perfectly happy to be in spare rooms, etc.).

Schedule:

June 3 – 13: Vindolanda Charitable Trust, UK

June 16 – 27: Dublin, Ireland (Museums TBC)

July 7 – 18: ?

July 21 – August 1: ?

If you are interested in hosting me at your museum, please contact me at katrina@newmuseumkat.ca

The Top 5 Reasons I Love Museums

The Top 5 Reasons why I Love Museums

1) Artefacts: Handling, Preservation and Conservation

I’m first and foremost an archaeologist, and because of this I actually think a Saturday afternoon spent cataloguing and photographing an interesting archaeological collection is great fun to be had. ;P I may be unique in this.

However, there has been a lot of talk bouncing around the museum world lately about whether a museum needs a collection to be a ‘Museum.’ Whereas, I do think there are valid examples of instances where a collection isn’t necessary; I do think that the element of authenticity found in real artefacts is unbeatable.

a
Cuneiform Foundation Cone c. 2144 – 2124 B.C.E
(Part of the Lost Collections exhibit)

2) Environment: The meeting of like minded people

The Best place to find other people who like museums, art, culture, history, heritage, etc. is to work at, volunteer for, or just hang around at museums!

At the Lost Collections Opening
At the Lost Collections Opening

3) Learning: Fueling our life long curiosities

I love learning new things, and it’s almost impossible to visit a museum and not learn.

Students participating in simulated underwater archaeology dig
Students participating in simulated underwater archaeology dig

4) Heritage: Housing and interpreting our collective Cultures

Museums offer visual essays of our collective cultures (Like a real life Pinterest!). Visitors can explore a cross-section of artefacts and images that illustrate the history of a place, people, or culture. (However, It is important to note that the stories told are usually those the local populations want to be told. Museums often avoid conflict and can be used as propaganda – the latter I do not like at all.)

5) Commentary: The past can illustrate the Present and inform the future

I especially enjoy exhibitions that have a good thought out and illustrated thesis. I find these kinds of exhibitions are rare, but when they are successful, they have the power to make social commentary, offer new interpretations of past cultures and events, and can help others to understand just why the past is worth knowing.

Source
Source: http://behappy.me/shchedrina/learn-from-the-past-80481

After two years, what I have come to call “The Lost Collections,” have finally come together into an online exhibit. Many many thanks go out to my friend Krista Carson, who has helped me put all of this together.

Lost Collections of the Ancient World

The story started in January of 2011, when my friend Paige Glenen and I made an incredible discovery in storage at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, in London, Ontario. We had found boxes and boxes of artefacts labeled as “Old World Roman.” The idea that we had a collection of Roman artefacts that we could handle and explore was exciting enough for two Classical archaeologists.

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Roman Terra Sigillata c. 200 CE

However, it soon became very apparent that there was more to the story than we had originally thought. Most of the boxes contained artefacts that were most definitely not of Roman origin, but what were they?

There were some large complete, or almost complete, pots stuffed with old yellowed newsprint. We thought it would be best to remove this acidic product to protect the artefacts (that and we wanted to look inside).  We found many more small artefacts, small pots, human figurines and two Cuneiform cones (cone-shaped baked clay pieces covered with writing known as cuneiform).

This is when we knew we really had something special.

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Cuneiform Foundation Cone                               c. 2144 – 2124 B.C.E
“For Ningirsu, Enlil’s mighty warrior,
Gudea, ruler of Lagas, made things function as they should (and) he built and restored for him his Eninnu, the Whit Thunderbird.”

Our first thought upon stumbling accross these ancient records, – ‘Are they real?’

The cones are real and the presence of cuneiform text identified the part of our collection as Mesopotamian (the region around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Modern day Iraq and Syria).

Armed with this information we were able to determine that the majority of the artefacts are of Mesopotamian origin and were found at the archaeological site of Ur (in modern southern Iraq).  The majority of the collection dates to c. 5900 – 2000 B.C.E.

The story behind the Lost Collections has proven to be unique and fascinating. I hope you take the time to explore the online exhibit and learn more about the story of the Lost Collections of the Ancient World.

Enjoy!

Fun link for Monday: Queen Victoria’s Journals

I stumbled upon this online exihibit of  Queen Victoria’s Journals  while on Twitter, from @AndrewSBowman. It is a collection of Queen Victoria’s writings detailing her life and experiences, which are pretty unique and amazing to read about, but it also illustrates her drawings and paintings.

I knew that Queen Victoria was an artist; I had seen some of her sketch books come up on Antiques Roadshow, but I was still amazed to see how much she documented.   It is strange to think that the royal figures whom she sketched were not just generic princes and princesses, as many young people might doodle in their sketchbooks, but people she actually knew and conversed with. It makes you think about how different a life she had from the everyday person.

What do you think of her journals?

Enjoy!

Queen Victoria’s Journals

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