Celebrating International Museum Day with
8 things I love about working at a museum
Today, 18 May, marks International Museum Day. To celebrate I thought I would share 8 of my favourite things about working in a Museum. In no particular order:
Last night I presented at the ENVI (Museums Australia Education Network Victoria) end of year event Travellers Tales. I spoke about my travels earlier this year and from this experience suggested what makes a good museum: LOVE.
Today I visited the Maryborough Flour Mill Gallery in the small country town of the same name. This museum/gallery includes an antique shop, a local art gallery, a vast sewing machine museum, and apparently, a resident ghost.
The Sewing Museum: “Sew What” has a very impressive collection of sewing machines, over 300, from almost 100 different manufacturers, covering over a century of sewing history. Most of the machines are in working condition and visitors can try their hand at some of them.
I’m very keen on visitor participation, I’m happy about high visitor numbers and I think a busy museum is a vibrant museum. But sometimes I just really love to be alone in a quiet empty museum. I think the most special moments can happen when you’re alone with a museum. It doesn’t mean the whole museum needs to be empty, just the space you’re in. Especially when they’re historical sites.
When I was travelling in the UK I visited a National Trust site in Northern Wales with some friends. It was ‘Tŷ Mawr’ or ‘Big House’ translated from Welsh. This lovely historic site was nestled in an isolated part of the country side and manned by a keen and knowledgeable guide. The site had an old magic to it, which the guide helped bring to life.
On the 24th April I visited both the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I felt that this time I went mostly as a tourist. Sure I still focused on details the average visitor would not, but I was there on a Sunday with a NY City Pass (booklet to get into multiple venues for a lower price) and in ‘holiday mode’ myself. I was also slightly delirious with sleep deprivation, having not coped very well with the volume of the New York nightlife noise that reached my bedroom the previous night.