Curator’s Advent. Day 4. Entry form

Wheel, East Pool Mine, National Trust. Not sure what this object's mission is and it probably doesn't have an entry form.
Wheel, East Pool Mine, National Trust. Not sure what this object's mission is and it probably doesn't have an entry form.
Wheel, East Pool Mine, National Trust. Not sure what this object’s mission is and it probably doesn’t have an entry form.

The birth certificate of the museum object, its proof of purchase. The entry form marks the start of an artefact’s rite of passage from prop, trinket or reject to sacred relic on a mission.

Curator’s Advent. Day 3. Moths

Butterflies on display at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro. Not moths but you get the idea.
Butterflies on display at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro. Not moths but you get the idea.
Butterflies on display at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro. Not moths but you get the idea.

Moths and other creepy pests are The Enemy of the curator (unless they are already dead and desirable specimens, pinned and catalogued). If you see a furrowed brow and haunted look, a struggle with sticky pheromone-fueled patches, spare a thought. We are saving museums from the very real peril of textiles and taxidermy annihilation. No one wants to see a naval rating’s uniform with holes in its unmentionables.

Curator’s Advent. Day 2. The label

Luray Vallery Museum, Virginia, USA. This curator liked this exhibit and label very much.
Luray Vallery Museum, Virginia, USA. This curator liked this exhibit and label very much.
Luray Vallery Museum, Virginia, USA. This curator liked this exhibit and label very much.

The art of a well-tempered label is a museum’s greatest gift to humanity. As selector and interpreter, the label is an opportunity for the curator to display her prowess. Curators believe in facts not opinions. The label contains up to 50 learned words. One idea per sentence (we prefer facts). Reading age: 12. Sans serif all the way.

Curator’s Advent. Day 1. Please do not touch

In this scene I examine a finger ring, reusing a late Roman agate seal, from southern Italy, late 7th century in the Museo Nazionale Archeologico di Napoli. In the next scene, the custodian of the stores tried it on and asked if it suited her (not pictured).

Curator’s Advent is a little idea I’ve been toying around with to explore some of my beliefs and values as a curator and playfully challenge some myths about what ‘curator-types’ are like. Every day in the run up to Christmas I’ll be playing around with curatorship in a series of mini posts and pics. You may not necessarily know whether I am being serious.

In this scene I examine a finger ring, reusing a late Roman agate seal, from southern Italy, late 7th century in the Museo Nazionale Archeologico di Napoli. In the next scene, the custodian of the stores tried it on and asked if it suited her (not pictured).
In this scene I examine a finger ring, reusing a late Roman agate seal, from southern Italy, late 7th century in the Museo Nazionale Archeologico di Napoli. In the next scene, the custodian of the stores tried it on and asked if it suited her (not pictured).

Day 1. Please do not touch

Everyone knows curators are born with a special ability to handle museum objects. When you are ordained to be a curator you will receive a signal that you are a chosen one. Begloved, the curator lifts her precious treasure ve-ery slowly from the acid-free paper draped altar. Stay a safe distance away for any disturbance of the air between the beholder and the beheld may cause a small part of the object to die. When an artefact travels through the corridors of time and straight into a museum the curator has nourished it upon the elixir of eternal life with a monastic devotion. Anything less and you might just think you’re in an old junk or pawn shop. And that won’t do.