By Nicholas J Booth, on 17 September 2013
On Wednesday 18th UCL Museums will be taking part in the Ask A Curator Day event on twitter. The original day was way back in 2010 and this year already has more museums signed up than ever before (525 in 34 countires at time of writing). We know that asking a question in a museum can sometimes feel intimidating , and that we curators can sometimes be hard to track down. There’s so much to do (all that cataloguing…gah!) that we aren’t always the most accessible group of people (though we really do try). We are taking part in the day as part of our commitment to make our collections as accessible as possible.
Ask A Curator works like this. Anyone in the world with a twitter account can tweet a question with the #AskACurator hashtag, and it will be answered by any of the institutions taking part. If you have a specific question for us you can tweet it directly to us @UCLMuseums and one of our staff will do their best to answer you. The Grant Museum is also taking part using @GrantMuseum.
In preparation for this I thought I would introduce you to our members of staff taking part…
Jack Ashby – Jack is the Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology. He is responsible for the strategic direction of the Museum, as well as managing the Museum’s resources. Much of his time is spent on creating opportunities for the public to engage with research going on at UCL. A zoologist by training with a particular interest in Australian mammals, he still spends as much time as he can in the field. His career began as a learning specialist. He’ll also be taking questions via @GrantMuseum.
Nick Booth – Nick is one of two Teaching and Research Curators at UCL, responsible for looking after the collections that don’t have a large public space. He is primarily responsible for caring for the Science and Engineering Collections (including Geology) as well as the auto-icon of Jeremy Bentham. He has been working in museums for about 5 years, having previously worked in a small local authority museum.
Ian Carroll – Ian is the Collections Manager at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. As part of this role, he is responsible for organising our public outreach programme through events such as the World Archaeology Festival, where visitors to the Institute can try their hand at activities such as fish mummification, flint knapping and a bit of ancient cave art.
Rachael Sparks – Rachael is the Keeper of Collections at the Institute of Archaeology. Originally from Sydney, she has worked on several excavations in Jordan and Ethiopia. Her specialisms include the Bronze and Iron Age archaeology of the Levant, and the work of Flinders Petrie in British Mandate Palestine. She currently lectures at the Institute on the ancient Near East, artefact studies, and how to use texts in archaeological research.
Alice Stevenson – Alice has only recently taken up the position as Curator of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, after four years as Researcher in World Archaeology in the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford. She curates a collection of some 80,000 objects from Egypt and Sudan that date from the Palaeolithic through to modern times. She will be available to answer questions between 10-12 and 3 – 5 on the day.
So if you would like to get involved and ask any of us a question you can tweet us @UCLMuseums or @GrantMuseum, or use the #AskACurator hashtag.
Nick Booth is one of the Curators of the Teaching and Research Collections.