Curator’s Advent. Day 12. Show and tell

Show and tell interactive in the Unwrapping the Past gallery on ancient civilisations at the Royal Cornwall Museum

Show and tell interactive in the Unwrapping the Past gallery on ancient civilisations at the Royal Cornwall Museum

Show and tell is my most favourite activity as a curator. I don’t get to do it nearly as often as I should like. It’s quite simple. Choose a theme or subject, get some great stuff out from your stores – or even out of a showcase – and show your visitors. If you are feeling brave, tell them how to handle the thing safely and let someone else get their mitts on your hallowed treasure. It’s the best feeling all round.

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.

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 1. Please do not touch

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.