Lauren Field began working in museums via education, teaching History sessions relating to the Great Fire of London and The Victorians – she was often dressed up and in role. However, Lauren has always wanted to work in collections – she is naturally a collector and organiser. If she didn’t work in a museum, Lauren would probably have a house crammed with many things she had collected herself.
Fun Fact: Lauren is addicted to buying books and taking constant photographs of her cat, Danny.
I work for the Curatorial Services that currently over look seven museums and galleries in the Stockport area of Manchester, England. The collections for all these sites are stored in one building (I am based there). I am a Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) trainee in Collections Management and my day-to-day consists of a lot of documentation and conservation of the various objects in the collection.
For information about the sites I work with, click here.
What’s your educational background?
After two years of A Levels in basic Earth Sciences (Geology, Geography and Environmental Science) I left Manchester and moved to South Wales to attend The University of Glamorgan. I graduated in 2010 with a BSc (Hons) in Geology. Earlier this year I applied and secured a place on a MA Museum Studies course but decided to give it up for my current job as I felt it would be better for me in the long run to be working in collections rather than learning how to work in collections.
I am always looking to further my education doing courses I feel will gain me knowledge I could possible use in a collections environment. Highlights have been a Cryptozoology course I completed whilst at university and much recently an Egyptology night school course with the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) despite being deathly afraid of Mummies!
What was your ‘sticky’ moment?
In regards to the moment I knew museums were for me; it had never occurred to me that my love for museums could also be my career until one day on a beach in Wales. My class was on a day out admiring the cliff exposed rocks of Barry Island in South Wales and my lecturer asked me what I planned to do after university was over. I hadn’t thought about it and was a little stuck for an answer. I had currently completed a piece of Paleontology coursework in which I had to identify, photograph, illustrate with diagrams and research various marine fossils, dinosaur bones and more, and I remembered doing this particular piece and enjoying it very much. My lecturer asked if I had ever considered museum work as he felt it would be ideal for me, I was a little taken a back and hoped that he would be correct. I found out soon after I achieved 95% in that piece of work. This then set the wheels in motion; I got in touch with the National Museum Cardiff and was able to work within their collections, using them to complete my dissertation on ‘The Analysis of Vertebrate Trackways’. Once I returned to Manchester I began volunteering in various museums and this volunteering helped me get jobs in museums such as Stockport Story Museum and Salford Museum and Art Gallery, which was all brilliant experience for my current job.
What is the name of your blog? How long have you been blogging?
The name of my blog is Exploring the Collection… and I have been blogging since 24th May 2013.
What do you blog about? Why?
I blog about what I get up to day-to-day. I feel the behind the scenes work that goes in to looking after a collection, putting together an exhibition and such can be intriguing and quite interesting. I know what lay behind closed doors in museums always interested me as a child. I try to bring the collection to people and I do that via ‘Find it Friday’.
What’s your most read blog post? Tell us about it.
My most read posts are of the ‘Find it Friday’ series. In addition to other posts, every Friday I find an interesting object in the collection and do a post about it. Sometimes this object relates to an event happening on that day or to a person but the object is always not currently on display, away in the stores and not available to the public otherwise.
If you didn’t work in a museum what would you be doing?
Growing up I wanted to be a Vet, a Zoo Keeper, a pet’s home employee, a riding school teacher, pretty much anything up close and personal with animals. I am up close to Taxidermy every day but it’s not quite the same thing.
Do you tweet? Why or why not?
I do tweet. You can find me at @LF_StockMus. I tweet a lot, mostly pictures of again, what I am up to, locations and objects. I tweet because I love my job and love sharing it with others. The past week or so I have been going through a Natural History Collection that has come back to the Curatorial Services all packed away so as I have been going through the boxes I have been almost live tweeting what is in each box as each one is a surprise to me. Its rather fun. I also love tweeting objects for our collection relating to what’s going on out there on Twitter. I rarely tweet of events in our museums myself but retweet this information via the official twitter at @SMBC_Museums.
Night at the Museum: love it or hate it?
I’d have to say: love and hate. I love the movies, obviously, who couldn’t? But I am not too keen on people’s reaction of ‘is it like Night at the Museum?’ every time I mention I work in museums. Ironically though, I am very much aware of the possibility of anything and everything coming to life when I am alone or if it is dark. Especially when I was a volunteer at Manchester Museum and I had to walk past a display of Egyptian Mummies. They are always the ones waking up in horror movies, books and cartoons, that’s all they ever seem to do; wake up to terrorise the living!
What do you see as the biggest challenge (or opportunity) facing museums today?
Funding. It’s a harsh reality but there seems to be no funding for anything anymore and museums are taking deathly hits over and over again, resulting in cuts where cuts can’t and quite frankly should not have to be made. The message and purpose of museums seem to becoming less clear and they have to conform. I am not talking of modernizing their approach because I am all for museums reaching out via modern means, but it’s heart-breaking that the smaller, local history museums that are there for the use of their local community might not be around for much longer.
Thanks for participating in Meet a Museum Blogger, Lauren!
In case you missed it, Lauren blogs at Exploring the Collection…
Do you have any additional questions for Lauren regarding her profile above? Feel free to start a conversation in the comments below or reach out to her directly on Twitter at @LF_StockMus. Please use the #MuseumBlogger hashtag. TY!
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