View of Pre-Raphaelite Gallery
View of Pre-Raphaelite Gallery

For my placement I was worked as a collections access assistant at Manchester Art Gallery within the Victorian Art and Pre-Raphaelite gallery and worked under the supervision of Rebecca Milner, one of the curators there. One of the main reasons that I chose to pick this particular placement, from the extensive list that was given to us to choose from, was due to experience that I have regarding Victorian Art; this placement therefore gave me a great opportunity to further my knowledge on that particular topic.

Some of the tasks given to me were repetitive, such as the archive based work but I realise that these tasks are ones that curator’s face every day, such as public inquires and that they are required to juggle completing these responsibilities while also doing their own exhibition work and research. I was able to learn a great deal about the Ke-EMU database, which I believe to be a valuable and worthwhile aspect of the placement as I know that this could be worthwhile to me in the future. I also got a chance to see how gallery staff worked as individuals and as part of a team.

Before the completion of the placement, I was aware that social media played an important part in the interaction between institutions and the public but I was not aware of have detrimental this has now come in engaging and trying to attract new audiences. It is also important to realise the importance of social media and its use within an institution, in both the techniques used and their implication on the institution itself. These techniques, such as blog posts and tweets, need to be interrogated so that their impact can be understood and enhanced. Nothing showed how enthusiastic institutions are in their mission to connect more with the public then #museumweek, the twitter event that involved hundreds of museums, galleries and small collections and lasted a week during March 2014. This event was purposely aimed at engaging with the public and focused on topics that the public would want to become involved in. It also focused with current trends that people could relate too such as #museumselfie day.

Although my role involved a number of different responsibilities that varied day to day, the aspect that I most enjoyed was writing the blog posts. When writing the posts it was detrimental to write them with the public in mind and to make the institution more engaging and enticing. My aim was to get the readers interested in what the gallery has to offer by providing interesting narratives about some of the pieces that are due to be displayed for the upcoming Natural Forces: Romanticism and Nature exhibition which is due to open in 12 July 2014. Hopefully I will have been successful in encouraging readers to visit when the exhibition is open.

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