Meet the Team – Museum Administration Officer

mel

Name
Mel Bekir

Job title
Museum Administration Officer

Describe a typical working day at Epping Forest District and Lowewood Museums.
Generally, balancing budgets!!! … placing orders, processing invoices, fielding phone calls. And so much more!

What is your favourite thing about working at the Museum?
A happy friendly team.

Share one piece of advice for those interested in working in the Museum field.
You do not have to be a historical whizz kid to work within the administration sector of the Museum; and it adds another dimension to the administration work you undertake. Where else can you be balancing figures in the morning and helping the Exhibitions Officer with the launch of the latest touring exhibition in the afternoon!

Which historical figure would you like to meet and why. What would you ask them?
Ronald Reagan – I would have to ask him, as a young jobbing actor, did he ever envisage one day being the holder of the most powerful job on earth!!.. How did that transition happen??!!

Where would you choose to go/visit if you could go anywhere in the world for a day? Cheesy as this may sound, I would love to go to Northern Cyprus for the day. Its where my parents were born and as a child we visited every couple of years. We would stay in my grandmother’s very simple home in the beautiful village of Lourougina on the Turkish/Greek border. I haven’t been since 1984 and my grandparents and all my uncles are no longer with us but it would be nice to go back to the village where they all grew up and re-live some of my childhood memories.

What was the first music track or album you bought?
Donny Osmond – Puppy Love

Update on our Heritage Lottery Fund Project

Finally we can share with you some of the updates on our Heritage Lottery Fund Project and the redevelopment of the Museum!

A lot has been going on behind the scenes with the Museum project. Although the building work is yet to begin there are some very exciting updates that we wanted to share with you.

Before the building work can start all the plans and designs for the building, provided by Hawkins Brown, have to be finalised. One of the key missions of this project is to make the museum and its collection accessible to all and this is something that we have been working on with the architects.

The team and people involved with the project have been very excited to see the developments of the plans and it is fantastic for us to finally be able to share with you some of the updated plans and some proposed images of how the museum is going to look when we reopen!

Entrance to the Museum
Part of the project is the plan to reopen the original entrance on Sun Street. In this image you can see what would have been the original front door to the house and this will become the new main entrance to the museum.

Image showing the original entrance to the house that is now the museum

Tudor Gallery
Another key area for the project is a chance to interpret the Tudor part of the building. The house itself has a fascinating history and the team are very keen to share and expose the story of the building.

tudor gallery

Community and Education Room
Along with new galleries and a new entrance the museum will have a dedicated community and education space. The room will be able to fit a class of 30 children making a better visitor experience for school groups but the space will have open arts and craft storage to allow for creativity but also be equipped for lectures, talks and presentations providing a fantastic new space for the museum.

activity room

The Core Gallery
As you may already be aware the redevelopment of the museum will allow for on-site collections storage and a new gallery ‘The Core Gallery’ this space will feature key objects from the collection and give visitors the opportunity to see behind the scenes into the stores, and people at work caring for the collection.

Core gallery

Art Stores
Along with the new on-site storage there will be the chance for visitors to see into the stores through glass viewing areas. This will include views of the picture stores which will be on a new racking system. This is great because the team will be able to showcase some of the fantastic pieces of art in the museum’s collection even when they aren’t on display.

art stores

We would love to hear what you think via Facebook, Twitter, comments on the blog or through the contact us links on the menu above. We will have more updates for you soon!

Takeover Day

Takeover Day is an annual day on which museums, galleries and historic homes invite children and young people in and give them a meaningful role. Children are in charge, making decisions and participating fully in the life of the museum. Young people have a say and contribute to the work of the museum. All of which is supported by Kids in Museums. To find out more about Kids in Museums or Takeover day visit their website http://kidsinmuseums.org.uk/takeoverday/

This year we are running our Takeover day project from our sister site Lowewood Museum. Students from The Broxbourne School will be taking over the museum on Friday 21st November and taking on the roles of the the curating, education and marketing teams. They had there first day on site on Friday 17th November and here is what some of them had to say about the project so far.

Today we started our work at Lowewood Museum. After a guided tour, where we saw everything from wild boar jaws to Victorian wedding dresses, we had the chance to handle some artefacts which was a really unique and enjoyable experience. We decided the theme of the exhibition we will be working on and split off into our groups. We started to organise how to make sure the exhibition runs smoothly. Next time I am looking forward to helping design the leaflets and posters that will be the main form of advertising our event on 21st November.
Liam

Today I visited Lowewood Museum and started off with a tour. We looked at all the variety of artefacts and learnt about the local history. Everything was described to us about what they were and how they were found around the Borough of Broxbourne. We got to handle and have a close look at some artefacts. We then discussed what we were going to do for our exhibition and event on the 21st November.
Rachel

Lowewood Museum contains numerous things, stretching across multiple ages and centuries, all of which is interesting and all linking to the area. Some of its artefacts are invaluable, and all of them have intrigue behind them. I am delighted that it frequently changes its exhibition and I look forward to what it holds in the future. Thank you to Lowewood Museum for giving me such an experience today!
Benjamin

My visit to Lowewood Museum today was great fun and very interesting. I learnt all about Hoddesdon and Broxbourne and we are beginning to come to come to terms with the momentous task of organising our event. It has been very tiring and we have only just started but we have an idea of what we would like to do. I can’t wait for the next visit and the grand opening day and I hope it all goes to plan!
James

Meet the Team – Lowewood Museum Development Officer

Name
Carly Hearn

Job title
Lowewood Museum Development Officer

Describe a typical working day at Epping Forest District and Lowewood Museums.
The best part about working in a museum is that every day is very different. You really don’t know what will turn up next…literally!
A day in the museum can include setting up volunteering projects, which may include working with the collection or registering new items into the museum. We also help with public enquiries, ranging from family history research to identifying an object which someone may have found locally or even in their back yard- this is where it can get really interesting  A typical working day for me also includes planning and organising the museum’s yearly programme of events and exhibitions, as well as the day to day management of the Grade II listed building in which the museum is housed.

What is your favourite thing about working at the Museum?
My favourite part about working for a museum is the opportunity to curate new displays and workshops for the public to see. I especially enjoy hearing good feedback from visitors when a new display has been opened, or when we have showcased an object within an education workshop or adult study day session. I recently helped our Education Officer with a pre-history workshop for schools where children were able to handle a mammoths tooth. Their faces lit up with amazement (some with horror) when we explained what the object was. One pupil even dragged her Dad into the museum later that week to show him what she’d held. This for me is what a museum is all about… learning something new and providing enjoyment.

Share one piece of advice for those interested in working in the Museum field.
Volunteer! Helping out at your local museum can provide invaluable experience for a future museum career. Museums today would be lost without volunteer support so you’d really be helping them as much as they you.

Which historical figure would you like to meet and why. What would you ask them?
Yuri Gagarin. I find outer space fascinating , so it would be very interesting to hear what it felt like to be the first person to go into space. What was going through his mind at the launch? What did it feel like to look down on Earth? It must be an experience like no other.

Where would you choose to go/visit if you could go anywhere in the world for a day?
One of the biggest things to do on my bucket list is a safari. I would probably go to the Maasai Mara in Kenya to see the lions or to see the silverbacks in Rwanda.

What was the first music track or album you bought?
I am ashamed to say it was Chesney Hawkes!

Meet the Team – Collections Management Officer

Name
Jill Holmen

Job title
Collections Management Officer

Describe a typical working day at Epping Forest District and Lowewood Museums.
Impossible to do – there is no such thing for me. I could be cataloguing new acquisitions, or researching and updating the records about some of the things we’ve had for a while; packing items for travel, and/or transporting them; answering public enquiries; changing a display; viewing items offered for the collection; interviewing prospective volunteers; writing a policy, plan or procedure; compiling guidelines for a project; helping Press & PR put together a Press Release or article; photographing objects for our records; selecting objects or sourcing images to include in a new display or for a social media post; taking environmental readings; adjusting dehumidifier settings; or planning a more efficient collections storage facility.

What is your favourite thing about working at the Museum?
The collections and using them to help the public to understand and learn more about the area and its history.

Share one piece of advice for those interested in working in the Museum field.
Gain as much and as wide a range of experience as you can.

Which historical figure would you like to meet and why. What would you ask them?
Amy Johnson. I’d ask her to teach me how to fly a De Havilland Dragon

Where would you choose to go/visit if you could go anywhere in the world for a day?
If it was only for a day, I’d like to spend it somewhere like the Kennedy Space Centre, the British Museum or the Cloisters, New York. Somewhere where you can guarantee to find something new and amazing around every corner.

What was the first music track or album you bought?
The first single (45RPM 7” vinyl) I bought was ‘Golden Brown‘ by the Stranglers.

Meet the team – Museum Manager

Our second meet the team blog gives you the chance to meet our Museum Manager.

Name
Tony O’Connor

Job title
Museums Services Manager

Describe a typical working day at Epping Forest District and Lowewood Museums.
The great thing about the job is that there isn’t a typical day! I could be undertaking a forward planning exercise, writing a funding bid, reviewing service performance and or examining ways of working with a range of other groups and organisations to support the work of the museum and engagement with heritage. After that I might be working on a lecture or presentation to a group. I could be reviewing items offered to the collection to take a view on whether we should accept /purchase or decline them. Then in the evening I might be attending a related project meeting, giving a talk to a group or holding a painting level, while it is positioned on a wall for display.

What is your favourite thing about working at the Museum?
The privilege of working with the collections, of having the opportunity to work with our wonderful heritage and helping to create opportunities for others to engage with it too.

Share one piece of advice for those interested in working in the Museum field.
It’s not 9-5, it really is a vocation and you will never be rich, in monetary terms!

Which historical figure would you like to meet and why. What would you ask them?
Alexander the Great. Was he the visionary ruler sometimes depicted, a man with serious physiological problems or a bit of both!
‘ You burnt down the fabulous palace of Persepolis last night when you were drunk. Any regrets this morning?’

Where would you choose to go/visit if you could go anywhere in the world for a day?
Byblos in Lebabnon

What was the first music track or album you bought?
Transformer: Lou Reed

Meet the Team – Audience Development Officer

From this week we are starting a series of Meet the Team Blog posts. We thought we would introduce you to the people behind Epping Forest District and Lowewood Museums.

We thought we would start with the person responsible for the blog writing, social media and online activity!

blog#

Name
Francesca Pellegrino

Job title
Audience Development Officer

Describe a typical working day at Epping Forest District and Lowewood Museums.
Like a lot of people in the museum team every day is different. The work I do on a regular basis involves researching objects and photographs for our social media platforms, writing the museum’s blogs and working on the museum’s marketing more generally. Along with this I also work on a number of other projects and coming up with events to work with lots of different audiences. This includes going out to fairs, planning heritage events across the district and within the museums and developing projects like Community Cabinet, Takeover Day and many more.

What is your favourite thing about working at the Museum?
I really enjoy seeing all the fascinating photographs and objects in the museum’s collection. It is really exciting being able to find out about them and then share them with people both locally and more widely. Sharing collections online is a great way to interact with people and we get such a great response which is really rewarding. I also love that my job is so varied, I am really proud to work for such a fantastic museum and the fact that my job involves trying to get more people interacting with the museum is excellent.

Share one piece of advice for those interested in working in the Museum field.
I would say getting hands on experience is really important. Personally I did a lot of volunteering, work experience and internships during my degree and I think that was really useful. It helped me think about what I would like to do in the museum field but also the practical experience is a great thing for future employers to see.

Which historical figure would you like to meet and why. What would you ask them?
I would like to meet Queen Elizabeth I. Having studied the Tudor period and particular Elizabeth I, I think she was such an outstanding figure in history, her story will always stand out to me. If I could ask her anything I would ask her if she realised at the time she would become such an important historical figure.

Where would you choose to go/visit if you could go anywhere in the world for a day?
I would really like to go and visit the Terracotta Army in Xian, China. Said to be one of the most important discoveries of the 20th Century I think it would be amazing to see the figures in real life. Hearing about the history of their production it would be an amazing experience to actually see them.

What was the first music track or album you bought?
I think my first album was STEPS!

How do you pack up a Museum?

Ever wondered what is involved in packing and moving Museum objects?

Here is a little information about what the Museum got up to during the packing process.
packing

The Museum itself houses a wide range of objects in its collection; from art to archaeology, books, costume, photographs and much more. With such a variety of objects the collections team, staff and volunteers had to treat each category of object very differently and often pack items on a case by case basis.

The art forms quite a large part of the Museum’s collection. Both the staff and volunteers particularly enjoyed this task as the Museum has within the collection a number of pieces by local artists including Walter Spradbery and Haydn Mackey. Some of the newer staff members and volunteers were seeing some of these artworks for the first time and sometimes it was hard not to get distracted from the task at hand!

Watercolour sketches by Spradbery, produced during WW1 in the area around the Somme

Watercolour sketches by Spradbery, produced during WW1 in the area around the Somme

The Right Honourable Lord Noel Buxton, Oil on Canvas, by Haydn Mackey

The Right Honourable Lord Noel Buxton, Oil on Canvas, by Haydn Mackey

The framed art was a much bigger task (and often much larger pieces!) as it was important to photograph, measure and document each object. Each framed piece was treated individually depending on size and ornateness of the frame it would be packed in a slightly different way. Measuring was important for documentation as well as thinking about the Museum’s exciting new storage facilities, and by photographing the art the team has created a great inventory and record. Below are some pictures of volunteers packing some of the art.

volunteers

The costume packing was quite different. Items where either hanging and stored in special calico bags or folded with acid free tissue and boxed. We uncovered some great fashion items whilst packing the costume, our touring exhibition assistant enjoyed looking through some of these items!

costumepacking images

Archaeological items often need a much more controlled environment so some of the objects that were susceptible to moisture damage had to be stored in boxes with airtight seals and with a kind of silica gel inside to create a ‘micro-climate’.

As you can see many of the staff and volunteers enjoyed the packing process even though it was a difficult task. There was a lot to pack and often hurdles to overcome with unusually shaped and sized objects. The collection has now been moved and safely stored in the correct environment and some of the collection will continually be documented and worked on during the Museum closure.

Heritage Lottery Fund Project Update – what have we been up to?

packing images
The major task at the moment has been to move the collections to a safe environment and empty the Museum building ready for the building work to begin.
Staff and the museum’s many volunteers have been working on the painstaking task of cataloguing, sorting and packing the Museum’s vast collection. Everyone has said what a very enjoyable task this has been even though it has been hard work. For many volunteers and some of the new staff working on the Heritage Lottery Fund Project it has given them an insight into the fantastic collection that the Museum holds.

The museum collection contains a skeleton from the Waltham Abbey Chapter House burial of around 1250 AD. Evidence suggest the man is thought to be an abbot of Waltham, a facial reconstruction has been completed, showing what the abbot may have looked like.

The museum collection contains a skeleton from the Waltham Abbey Chapter House burial of around 1250 AD. Evidence suggest the man is thought to be an abbot of Waltham, a facial reconstruction has been completed, showing what the abbot may have looked like.

Items have included artefacts as diverse as a mummified cat, an abbot’s skeleton and artworks by artists connected with the district.
Mummified Cat
One of the most important items in the museum, the Tudor panelling, on a long term loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum has been carefully moved to a suitable storage area and will be redisplayed when the museum reopens.

Everything has been packed before being stored securely and in a suitable atmosphere in order to preserve the collection’s precious and often irreplaceable items. Building specialists are now investigating and recording the historic listed building the museum is located in ahead of building works, which will begin later this year.

Look out for more updates on our exciting project in future blog posts!