Birmingham Museums Trust

Harriet Aldridge has been working with the busy exhibitions team at Birmingham Museums Trust for little more than a month – not that you would know that given the many wonderful projects she has already been involved in…

Night in the Museum

For my internship I am based with the exhibitions and design team at BMAG (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), where I am helping with the development and installation of several exhibitions. I am thrilled to be working with exhibitions officer Katie Hall (previous Cultural Intern) and Lisa Beauchamp, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.  The main project I have been working on during my first few weeks is preparing for the instalment of Night in the Museum, an exhibition curated by artist Ryan Gander.

I have been busy working with the learning officer and exhibitions officer to develop an interpretation booklet, which will enable visitors and staff to learn more about the pieces in the Arts Council Collection. I have also met with an external design company to discuss the layout of the exhibition, which ranged from discussing text panels to object placement. The project has also enabled me to liaise with various other departments, such as operations, in planning for the private launch event. It has been an experience to see the Gas Hall’s transformation in anticipation of the exhibition. The first artworks have just started arriving, and I am looking forward to conducting some condition reporting and object inspection!


The Gas Hall undergoing a makeover in preparation for Night in the Museum

New Art West Midlands

I have also been fortunate to be involved with New Art West Midlands (NAWM), which is an exhibition displaying works from recent graduates of West Midland art schools. I have been collating key information about the NAWM artists, and I’m extremely excited to be liaising directly with them, and have really enjoyed hearing their proposals.

I’ve also been helping with the installation schedule, which involved producing 3D models and scale images of the exhibition space and artwork. This was an exciting part of the project and provided me with a really useful skill for any future exhibits I may work with.


Scale model of the Waterhall, where NAWM artworks will be placed

Birmingham People and Places

Under the guidance of Jo-Ann Curtis (Curator of History), I’m extremely excited to be managing an exhibition space in the Birmingham People and Places gallery. I have been developing content for a project focussing on the Paradise Development, and will be working with CORE, the marketing company for the development project.


Birmingham People and Places Gallery

My responsibilities include choosing topographical material, managing the budget for the display, writing interpretation, as well as designing a layout for the exhibition.  I am extremely excited to be a part of this project, especially the opportunity to learn about the logistics and management of exhibition planning. I have created a scale model display for the gallery and am currently in the process of arranging a layout. I also collected a scale model of the Paradise Circus development from CORE to be used in the gallery.


Paradise Circus model

Ceramics Gallery- Josiah Wedgwood

As if all these wonderful projects weren’t enough, I’m currently working on a re-display of pottery in the industrial gallery, specifically Wedgwood’s Black Basalt ware. My task is to re-write the label panels and group objects together.  I’ve been able to update the collection list, and re-arrange the display according to how I saw fit! Researching these objects has been very enjoyable, as they relate quite nicely to my Ancient History degree, with many of the objects having an Ancient Egyptian theme.


My favourite object in the Josiah Wedgwood display: an Egyptian themed inkpot, covered in fake hieroglyphics with a Griffins head on one end

In between all these amazing projects (and also helping to organise a conference for the West Midlands Egyptology Society) I have somehow found the time to proofread texts for other displays, as well as undertake a Hazards and Object handling workshop with the conservation team. I am also due to help audit some of the archaeological collection at the Museum Collections Centre, as well as arrange a meet up with the Portable Antiquities staff.

The Future  

Given that I have only been here a little over a month and have already sampled so much, I cannot wait to see what else I can get involved in, and hope that these 6 months don’t go too fast. Keep an eye out for my next blog in February (when I’ll have only a month to go!)


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