As a part our MA Leadership and Innovation we undertook a placement at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Myself and my co-worker Luke are carrying out various tasks helping with Collecting Birmingham project. Currently, we are assigned to engagement, research and acquisition aspects of the project. Working closely with curators of the project, we follow them to the meetings with possible object donors, engagement events and consultations with specialists.
Last week we participated in conversation with Muhammed Ali, one of the Collecting Birmingham donors and the organiser of Knights of the Raj exhibition, focusing on alternative narratives the project will record, document, preserve and promote the heritage of those restaurants. It will be the culmination of an HLF funded project run by Soul City Arts incorporating budget for the exhibition.
We discussed possible collaboration and donation of a number of objects rescued from Koh-i-noor restaurant that recently closed in Birmingham. Koh-i-noor was a great example of 1980s decor and interior, the golden years of the curry house. Most of these restaurants get closed or refurbished when passed on to the next generation of owners. The economical climate pushes young owners to modernise and change the restaurants’ images and therefore it is a rare find among the streets of Birmingham.
At the moment, I am writing an acquisition proposals for a booth previously used in Koh-i-noor restaurant and some objects from Birmingham Central Mosque. This is a complex and interesting task that involves a deep research and understanding of the objects, as well as their roles in Collecting Birmingham project and overall BMT collection.
This week we’ve had a cataloguing induction at MCC, where Rebecca Bridgman the Curator of Islamic and South Asian Arts, on the example of a set of Air Raid Precaution badges from WW2 introduced us to EMu cataloguing system. The next day, we’ve been left to develop our cataloguing skills on the objects from Freda Cock’s exhibition that just closed at MJQ. We were handling the objects and filling out a check list that later will be uploaded on to museum’s cataloguing database. It involved measuring, describing and researching the objects. It’s been a new museum practice and enabled a better understanding of accessioning process.
And here is a picture of Luke being excited to open a box of stuff.