Resilience Conference and Peoples 50 exhibition

The Curatorial Department has had a whirlwind start to the year, between attending training and organising object loans back in January and February, March wasn't much quieter! In fact, it was not just the Curatorial Department who were busy as the Museum was preparing to host a conference event: sharing our knowledge, skills and experiences from over the last three years of our Arts Council Resilience project. This was particularly significant to me, as my job was funded through this project.

Thanks to the money from Arts Council England, alongside the Museum's rebranding and redevelopment in 2015, the Trust also received funds to invest into projects, training and development that would enable the Museum to become more sustainable, and have a bigger and better offer for a wider audience than it had done previously. This conference was our chance to reflect on these changes and projects and share our knowledge with other institutions.

Presentations were made from all the Trust's departments; Education; Life Long Learning; Volunteers; Curatorial; Archive and Community Engagement, as well as our colleagues in Marketing and Operations. The sessions mainly covered the outcomes of the projects funded through the Arts Council, what had worked well and what hadn’t and how each project would work going forward using the foundations from the Resilience programme.

As for myself and the other Trainees (Mollie in Archives and Alice in Learning) we were part of a small panel segment hosted by our Curator, Stephen. The panel discussion was loosely based around questions of what we thought was valuable about our trainee programme, why it had appealed to us in the first place and what we had enjoyed, learned and were proud to have achieved over our two and a half years in post. Not only was it great fun to be involved in the conference, it was also yet another fantastic learning opportunity, allowing me to look back on everything I have done over the past few years and evaluate what I had achieved personally and professionally as a result.

Working on multiple projects every day, you don't often get a chance to step back and I was surprised at how much I have achieved, the sheer amount of work that I had done and the different skills I had picked up on the way. Some of the things I have been involved in through my time in the Curatorial department had been completely new to me and, while I might consider them to be everyday things now, it was clear what a steep learning curve I had gone through! It was also great to be able to speak to people from other museums and hear about what was going on outside of the British Motor Museum, the issues other people were facing and what they were hoping to get out of the conference.

It was a fantastic opportunity as Trainees to be able to share our experiences with people who are in the position that I was in two and a half years ago. It was also great to see other institutions looking to recruit trainees and be able to showcasing the benefits of the program.

But there was also so much more going on in March as well, and the Trainees were not the only new recruits to come out of the Arts Council Resilience funding either. The team was also joined by Adela as Community Engagement and Audience Development officer, and later Romily took over the position. Alongside the Museum's '50 Motoring Treasures' Exhibition that I was involved with back in June 2017, Romily's role was the production of the 'Peoples 50' – a community sourced display case of personally significant motoring treasures.

I worked closely with Romily on this project, especially in the past few weeks as the People's 50 project comes to a close in May. Between us we have been routinely swapping over objects in the cases to ensure that everyone who participated in selecting and sending us objects was able to have their choices showcased.

All in all, another very busy month for the Curatorial department, and I have been lucky enough to be offered a permanent role continuing my work with the collections after the end of the Resilience project in March. This means it's time to start planning the next few years for me and Stephen – and April is set to keep us just as busy as the rest of the year has!

  • Visit England Gold Accolade