As part of my degree in Art Gallery and Museum Studies I chose to partake in the work placement module. I was fortunate enough to obtain my first choice at the People’s History Museum. I was interested in this particular placement because it allowed the placement student to gain first hand experience in the area of exhibition development. My main task throughout the duration of the placement was to research and curate a display using the museum’s peace collection. Being an international student, I had little previous knowledge of the political system in the UK, and had to spend a considerable amount of time doing general research so I would be able to create an informed display. Once gaining the background knowledge I needed and began to research the collection, I decided to focus my display on the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. The Greenham Common Peace Camp was located on RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire, England, and used as a protest site for nuclear cruise missiles during the Cold War. It quickly became known internationally.
During my placement I gained an extensive amount of knowledge regarding exhibition development. I had creative control over the display, with guidance from the curatorial staff, and quickly learned just how much work goes into developing an exhibition or display. Once the theme of my display had been chosen I then was able to begin developing the idea. There are many important aspects that go into creating a display, such as, object selection, interpretation, and text label writing. I found writing the text labels to be some of the most difficult work that I did throughout my placement since the People’s History Museum uses a style heavily influenced by the Ekarv style of writing. Moving from an academic style of writing to more short and simplistic sentences can prove to be a bigger challenge than expected.
This being said, I found my time at the People’s History Museum to be extremely rewarding. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work at this particular institution. I gained a broader knowledge of the exhibition development process that will be valuable for my future in the museum sector. The staff at the museum was helpful and willing to share their own personal experiences with me, which is something that I consider to be valuable as well. I will remember all that I learned from this experience throughout my future career.