A new month, a new update, and welcome to Spring Break!


I don’t know if I’ve already said this, but March has been one of the toughest months since I’ve been here. At the beginning of the month we were still in the early stages of group exhibition projects, summer internship placements were being decided, and the deadline for dissertation proposals was looming. I was thinking to myself that April could not come soon enough…

Group 'Faraday' and finished exhibition! Photo courtesy of Yoomin Ko

Six weeks ago we were split into groups with people we had never worked with before, given four unique objects, £150 budget, a project brief, and sent off to create an exhibition. Through a lot of agonizing team meetings, consultation with staff members, and a lot of DIY spirit, we came up with our exhibition ‘Reflections of Decoration’, that is now on display in the Museum Studies Department. In that time I’ve also managed to secure a summer internship placement at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, just recently reopened after a £24 million refurbishment. And yes, I submitted a dissertation proposal on the topic of museum disposal (throw stuff away! Uh, just kidding…), and have since had my first meeting with my dissertation supervisor.

Museum Society End of Lectures Party. Photo courtesy of Laura Gordon

To alleviate the stress there were fun times too. I was able to see the Queen (and Prince Philip, and Duchess Kate) start her Diamond Jubilee tour here in Leicester. I’ve never seen any US president, but now I have seen the Queen! I also made a visit to the famed Stonehenge, and nearby Salisbury Cathedral, where we viewed a page from the 1215 AD Magna Carta on display. There was also a daytrip to Liverpool, home to the Beatles, and to a multitude of museums of which we tried to see as many as possible. And unfortunately, through all of March I was sick multiple times, to the point where I cancelled a trip to Budapest, Hungary this weekend in order to recover from a suspected chest infection. Sad.

Regardless, I’m relieved that it is now SPRING BREAK, and I have the chance for some real rest and relaxation. Thanks to family and friends for their support thus far.

Six months down, six months to go…

Stonehenge is behind there somewhere...

Stonehenge Panorama

Liverpool Panorama, view from the Museum of Liverpool.

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A Victorian Education


Once again, it has been awhile since I last wrote. I had just gotten back from Berlin, and had a few days off before new classes started. It had been a rough few weeks as I got the flu, was stuck in my room reading, and still jumped into a full on week of 9-5 lectures for my special option ‘world arts/museum ethnography’. Then I had a matter of a week to write my 3,800 word essay on repatriation and museums. The highlight out of this mess was visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, which is essentially a museum of a museum. It’s stuck in the early 20th century and consists of cases crammed full of the weird and wonderful, like a puffer fish helmet, or the ever popular shrunken heads.

Inside the Pitt Rivers Museum

While I was working on my essay, we were also beginning our final taught module, on communication, media and exhibitions. This includes a group project creating an exhibit out of several random objects and our burnt-out imaginations. At the end of this month, each group will be installing their exhibit in one of the display cases around the museum studies building. With eight people in a group, you can appreciate that it’s difficult to come to consensus, but I suppose this is what real work will be like. After completing the exhibition installation, we then each need to write some long-winded essay on our process, before being set free for a month of vacation, and preparing for the dissertation period beginning in May.

I realize that most of what I’m talking about is school-related, but it’s not ‘all work and no play’. That is if by ‘play’, you think hiking and museum trips! Last weekend, I went on a long 6 hour hike with a few friends in the Peak District National Park (google it). It was full of beautiful scenery, but I spent two days just recovering from the effort. Yesterday I went with the ‘Museum Society’ to Ironbridge Gorge, and the Blists Hill Victorian Town, where we traded our money in for farthings and shillings, and explored the streets, shops and houses to our hearts’ content. Ironbridge Gorge happens to be a UNESCO world heritage site, as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and home to the world’s first iron bridge!

Thanks for reading, and hopefully next time I will know my summer internship placement, as well as my dissertation topic, and a few more other weekend trips to talk about.

A bit of atmosphere in the Peak District

 

Singing songs in the Victorian public house!