Arts Sector Advice: Interested in a museum career?

Date Created: 23rd Jul 2019

A photograph of Bea, our Strategic Manager for Kent

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With a degree in History and a Masters in Cultural Memory under her belt, its no wonder Bea sailed into a role with The Royal Collection Trust. During this role Bea was able to not only work alongside experienced peers, but inevitably gain invaluable advice from some of the country’s expert curators.

Bea joined Artswork in March 2018 after a 12 year reign working in Museums and Galleries. This wealth of knowledge Bea has equipped herself with would be useful to anyone interested in working in this environment.

Bea would like to share her advice for any enthusiastic historians looking to pursue these interests.

How would you describe your experience of that particular role?

I worked for 9 months on a maternity cover at Royal Collection Trust and it is probably the most interesting job I have ever had. I was working with one of the best collections of visual arts in the world, and was based in one of the busiest parts of London every day.  From my office we could hear the changing of the guard and all the jazzy songs they would play for the tourists! I worked on events for adults so got to book and participate in all sorts of talks and performances.  There were lots of great benefits like a free gym & swimming pool, opportunities to attend special events and above all a 3 course lunch was provided every day!

Is there anything you feel could have improved your experience of that role?

It couldn’t be helped but for obvious reasons there were times when it was incredibly busy with tourists and visitors and it was very frustrating! I always had to allow extra time to get to meetings and events because it would take so long to get through the crowds at Buckingham Palace.

What roles/training/education led you to begin that creative role?

I had done a History degree and then an MA in Cultural Memory, all while volunteering at various museums. I come from a family of teachers and loved working with children so decided to specialise in education roles. I had several previous learning officer roles, and had been a heritage project manager, before securing this job which was Assistant Learning Curator.

What was expected of you in that role and what did you do on a day to day basis?

I contacted artists and experts (or their agents) to ask them to take part in events, and once they were secured I worked on their contracts and the event details with them. I would deliver events for adult visitors, to enhance different exhibitions, with support from the learning team. I worked on the multimedia guides that visitors used at the Queen’s Gallery, the Royal Mews and Buckingham Palace – editing scripts, arranging interviews and then editing recorded versions. I oversaw filming for interpretation films – accompanying film crews, suggesting locations and interviewees. I spent a lot of time liaising with the Royal Collection curators as they were the experts on what was being exhibited from the collection and led on the content for the interpretation.

What advice would you give to someone considering working in that environment?

  • Royal Collection Trust is part of the Royal Household and as such is a formal job within a hierarchical structure. There are high expectations of conduct and behaviour – much more so than anywhere else I have worked.
  • They love to keep good staff and train people up in different roles, so you could try your hand at many things which is brilliant if you haven’t quite figured out what you want to do yet.
  • If you want an interesting job in central London with lots of perks, then it would be perfect!    
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