I am a new Trainee at Colchester + Ipswich Museums and this is my first blog post, so I thought I’d introduce myself. My name’s Mark and it gives me great pleasure to be part of the cohort of 2016!
I won’t bore you with details about myself, as I’m sure you’re raring to hear what I have to tell you! (If you do want to find out more about me however, you can read my Trainee page). I thought for my debut post, I’d write about recent training we undertook, which I then put into practice on a field trip.
Last week our training involved the principals of exhibition design. We learnt a great deal about the different aspects and ideas you have to consider when laying out an exhibition and getting the most out of a gallery space. The session also included ways of making exhibitions accessible to diverse audiences. It took into account physical disabilities and intellectual accessibility, meaning how we portray an exhibition so it makes sense to everyone.
With such interesting training, I was then lucky enough to take annual leave the next day (hooray!) to go to Cambridge, and visit one of the greatest museums, (other than Colchester + Ipswich!) the Fitzwilliam.
Going with a group from Flatford Mill, (where I volunteer), we first had an excellent tour around Cambridge, looking at the different colleges and learning exciting new things. Then it was time for the main event, the Fitzwilliam Museum.
From what I’d learned about display, design and layout, I would say the Fitzwilliam galleries are arranged in such a way that would appeal mostly to an academic audience, rather than being open to a diverse audience. I suppose this is due to the location of the museum in Cambridge, a city of high achieving students and academics. The orientation* is set in a chronological manner, with the wall colours complimenting the objects that are shown. I very much enjoyed my visit, but if I were to suggest an area for improvement, it would be accessibility to disabled people (hard of hearing, sight etc.). They could perhaps introduce interactive devices, as I did not see that many.
It was such a great visit and especially going as a museum Trainee with a fresh pair of (hopefully attuned) eyes! I even got to look at the John Constable drawings and watercolours not usually on show, which was the cherry on top of the cake. To sum it up, I was like kid in a sweet shop!
Thanks for reading my first post! Watch this space as they’ll be more from me soon!
p.s As I am new to the whole blogging thing, if you have any suggestions about my post please write a comment!
*the direction in which the displays imply to the visitors which way to walk around gallery