My name is Charlotte Hall and as part of my postgraduate degree in Art Gallery and Museum Studies I undertook a work placement. For my placement I worked as an exhibition assistant at the National Trust Property- Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate. Having volunteered here for two summers during my undergrad degree, the placement was seen as an opportunity to see the development of Quarry Bank and to experience it in a different professional setting and the placement did not disappoint.
Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate opened in 1748 under Samuel and Hannah Greg. During their time in charge of the mill they built a community that included a village for the mill workers, an apprentice house, their own family home with beautiful landscape gardens. Samuel also expanded his business by acquiring several other mills. Quarry Bank Mill was passed down through the Greg generations until Alexander Carlton Greg donated it to the National Trust in 1939. . Since then the National Trust has developed the mill to allow visitors to continue experiencing it with original machinery and the water wheel still running. Throughout they have different galleries explaining the different processes involved, about the workers themselves and the village of Styal. The introductory gallery has been set-aside as a temporary exhibition space. This is where I spent most of my time helping to install and de-stall two very different but equally amazing exhibitions. The two exhibitions were ‘Drawn out of Love’ and ‘An Apprentice Adventure’. ‘Drawn out of Love’ was focused on using the collection to inform the visitors about Barbara Greg and her husband Norman Janes by using their artwork. Where as ‘An Apprentice Adventure’ is an interactive story telling exhibit aimed at families and young children.
My overall aim for my placement was to gain the whole experience of putting an exhibition together right from the planning stages to the de-installation. This aim was achieved as I learnt that devising and conducting temporary exhibitions is a vast process, involving many different tasks and people, which you don’t think about as a visitor viewing the finished exhibition. Visitors see exhibitions as a whole whereas now I see the exhibitions not only as a whole but as many different components, consisting of lots of hard work, put together.