BY: JENNIFER MAXWELL
Do you remember Evelyn Carnahan from the movie The Mummy? She was the librarian working for the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, and she was very proud of her profession. She even journeyed to the City of the Dead and confronted some rather unscrupulous characters, all for the cause of one artefact. That is some collections-development dedication right there!
I have always admired Evelyn Carnahan’s zeal for collections. I love museums/history/artefacts, so entering into Museum Studies was an easy decision. Navigating the Master of Museum Studies programme in search of Collections Management (CM) knowledge and experience has been rewarding, and I have learned a great deal over the past year. Below is some of the best advice I can offer first-year students interested in the field of CM.
I. What is a Collections Manager?
|Be prepared to fix inconsistencies in the collections records. Source.|
II. Which courses are the best?
|Which course covers topics in collections reanimation? Source.|
As collections managers, we can find work in both large and small institutional settings. In larger institutions our work might be more narrowly focused, i.e. strict description and digitization entry. This stands in contrast to smaller institutions where the work involved might be more varied. It is not uncommon for collections managers in smaller institutions to perform curatorial work, research, and educational activities. With this in mind, having practical and theoretical knowledge in collections-related subjects can be immensely beneficial.
From my own experiences, I would recommend courses in archives management, interpretation and mean-making, exhibition and/or curation, as well as conservation/preservation (to name a few). Because CM is an integrated and integral aspect of museum operations, you should be as well-rounded in the field as possible.
III. What about an Internship?
|You too can be this fabulous in your internship! Source.|
Do not be afraid to be a bit adventurous too - consider internships in all types of institutions, from corporate archives to independent art galleries! For example, plenty of business corporations keep archives on-site and are fantastic un-tapped resources.
IV. What are the best resources?
|All the knowledge! Source.|
Also, take some time to read curator and museum blogs, as some of these sites offer everyday insights into collections from museums, galleries, and similar institutions. Be sure to visit museum, archive, and art association/council websites, as well. The online museum community is a wonderful place.
Any advice to add or questions to ask? Post them in the comments!