Tuesday, 17 September 2013

#askacurator day

Tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday 18th September) the Pitt Rivers Museum is taking part in the Ask A Curator Day event on Twitter.

Begun in 2010, the event has grown and this year record number of museums across the world are taking part (525 in 34 countries at time of writing). This includes big names such as Centre Pompidou (Paris), Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), Museum of Islamic Art Qatar (Doha), Prado (Madrid), Tate (UK) and the Met (New York). It has even caught the attention of the national press - you can read about it in the Guardian newspaper.

Wandering around a museum can often lead to spontaneous questions you wish a curator was there to answer but often they can be difficult people to get hold of. Given that typically less than 10% of a museum’s collections are on display, curators are often behind doors undertaking research, developing interpretation or cataloguing and caring for the other 90%! Even when a member of staff is available, it can sometimes be a bit intimidating to approach someone you don't know. By taking part in Ask A Curator, we hope we can help improve the accessibility of our collections and working practices to anyone, anywhere.

So how does it work? All you need is access to a Twitter account, then just tweet your question using the #askacurator hashtag. General questions can be answered by any of the institutions. If you have a specific question for the Pitt Rivers Museum then tweet us directly by putting @Pitt_Rivers at the start of your message. We'll do our best to answer you straight away but if your question requires a little more thought and fact-finding, or should be answered by a member of staff who’s not around, we may send you a holding message so that we can back to you in a day or two. 

On board tomorrow from 12.00 - 17.00 will be myself - Helen Adams - VERVE Project Curator & Engagement Officer; Julia Nicholson, Joint Head of Collections; and Andrew Hughes, Conservator. You can ask us anything you want (e.g. What's it like to be a curator? How do you decide what to display? What's your favourite object in the Museum? Do you all wear corduroy?) but remember to be brief - you only have 140 characters!

Happy tweeting...

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