We’re busily making the final preparations for #Askacurator day on the 17th September, when members of the Bradford Museums and Galleries team will be taking place in the international event on Twitter.
#Askacurator is taking place around the world – last year over 600 Museums, Galleries and cultural institutions from around the world took part. It’s a way to talk directly to curators & other people who work in cultural venues and Bradford Museums and Galleries are delighted to be taking part this year.
The idea is that #Askacurator is open to everyone and that people can ask anything that you’re curious about or want more information on. This can be directed to a particular particupating museum, such as us – our Twitter ‘handle’ is @bradfordmuseums if you want to find us there. Questions can also be directed generally to all participating Museums & Curators. Simply include the hashtag #askacurator in your tweet with a question, and those taking part will be able to pick up on it and hopefully answer!
The aim is to encourage conversations between museums and the public, and between various museums too, and we’re hoping all our readers will want to get involved too.
We’ll be participating between approximately 10am and 4pm, with staff popping in and out during the day
We thought you might like to meet some of the people who will be about to answer questions on the day. So without further ado here we are:
Daru Rooke: Museum Manager North
Museums are fabulous and their collections give us the opportunity to time travel every day. A display of fossils in Wakefield museum seen when I was five inspired me to want to be a museum curator .
I enjoy days when the museum is bustling with visitors experiencing their past.
My favourite object is our stuffed two faced sheep. Her quizzical expression always cheers me up for the day!
Dale Keeton: Collections Officer
Ever since I visited Weston Park Museum in Sheffield as a five year old I wanted to be an archaeologist. I later found that a warm laboratory is far nicer than being knee deep in a muddy hole in the middle of winter on a moor so became a conservator.
My favourite objects are generally the ones that no one likes, the broken pot with ancient repairs, the ball of corroded metal from a dig, a twisted sword blade – Challenging objects with stories to discover.
Heather Millard: Curator, Social History
I have always wanted to be able to tell people about stories from the past, and working in a museum means I get to do just that. I’ve been interested since I was a little girl, when I visited too many museums, castles and stately homes to count!
Now I get to work regularly in buildings with wonderful objects and intriguing stories – I feel very privileged. I get to time-travel without running the risk of being left behind by the time-machine!
It’s so difficult to pick a favourite object, when there are so many with interesting stories. Sometimes it’s the Butterfield Bodice at Cliffe Castle. Made by Worth, it was worn by Marie Louise Roosevelt Burke who married Henry Isaac Butterfield. It’s so beautifully made. It gives such an insight into how finely she dressed.
Other days, when I want to smile, it’s a fancy dress costume made to look like Mary Queen of Scots that was worn by Catherine Salt. It’s such a glorious mish-mash of Tudor and Edwardian fashion!
Kirsty Gaskin: Assistant Curator, Area North
I always loved interactive museums as a child and as I grew I began to develop a deep interest in contemporary art.
As part of my A Level art course we visited the Veterinary Museum in Paris and it was here that I was first captivated by a museum that didn’t have buttons to push and wheels to turn. The museum was no more than a room and could be viewed by private appointment only, but it was jam packed with all sorts of specimens, including a two headed calf, human deformities and Victorian examples of preservation. As a lover of the macabre and all things strange I was fascinated.
The joy with working in a museum is you never know what objects they hold in their collections or what someone might wish to donate. Even an everyday object could have a fascinating and intriguing story behind it, each day can be filled with surprises and there is always something new to learn or discover.
Liz McIvor: Curator of Social History and Technology
I got into museums because …I love the written word, though rarely feel connected to history through it. For me real things inspire because they interpret ordinary people and their lives rather than great events and famous people. I saw the Iron Age bog body ‘Lindow Man’ at the age of six at Manchester University Museum after his discovery in 1984 near where I grew up.
The (mustard flare corduroy wearing and bearded) Curator told schoolchildren the story of ‘Pete Bogg’s’ life based on his remains; all that was left from 2000 years ago and although an uncomfortable sight, I was hooked after that, not on archaeology, but on people. Their experiences in the past and what we can learn from them today.
I thought..that’s the job I want one day.