If you don’t notice my work then I’ve done a good job
A lot of you may not necessary know what goes on behind the scenes in a gallery or museum. What happens in those spaces off limits to the public?
Well let me take you behind the scenes with a workshop I recently went on. This workshop was run by National Service Te Paerangi in partnership with Nelson Provincial Museum and was especially for technicians who work in the gallery and museum sector. The role of a technicians is to prepare objects and documents in collections and exhibits. A job which requires a variety of skills and at times is very messy. In New Zealand there is no set training standards for technicians, those employed in this role come from a variety of backgrounds which include the building industry, engineering, art making or are just all round practical people. For most of them they learn through experience and working directly on the job. This workshop was the first of its kind and it was great for bringing together 13 individuals who work in this role from museums and galleries throughout the South Island.
Part of my role here at the AAG is to install exhibitions and display artworks so this workshop was ideal for me. When you work in a small team you are limited by your own knowledge and problem solving skills so this workshop provided me with the opportunity to gain insight from other institutions and the expertise of Callum Strong who works in the role as a Object Support Preparator at Te Papa. Callum’s slogan is “If you don’t notice my work then I’ve done a good job”- so no wonder you may not know what those in this role do, you are not technically suppose see it! It’s the work of magician, but this role is vital for ensuring the safety of our precious objects and artworks from storage to display.
For two days we had the mighty workshop of the Nelson Museum at our disposable for learning techniques such as making lifts (this is used to display objects), pinning objects (securing them to a surface) and working with foam to display/store objects. I worked with a range of materials and learn a lot that I could take home and utilise here in my role at the AAG.