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Curators team Communication plan 2013 Need to know something? You need a curator. This is THE SCRIPT for present and future curators when talking about.

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Presentation on theme: "Curators team Communication plan 2013 Need to know something? You need a curator. This is THE SCRIPT for present and future curators when talking about."— Presentation transcript:

1 Curators team Communication plan 2013 Need to know something? You need a curator. This is THE SCRIPT for present and future curators when talking about their work, and will interest anyone else who wants to know what curators do at Historic Royal Palaces.

2 What is a curator? 1. Someone who CARES for our buildings and collections. A SPECIALIST ADVISOR, whos passionate about the survival of whats in our possession. A GUARDIAN of the spirit of, or a CONSCIENCE for, the organisation. Someone who organises the collection, MAINTAINS RECORDS of the palaces, and is RESPONSIBLE for their presentation. - We can tell you the best way to decorate a room from 1514, or 1666, or We can find and organise the artefacts in our care - We help limited damage to valuable things: by understanding and explaining the best way to treat them - We commission archaeological recording and analysis. - We can tell you what items of royal underwear we have in our stores

3 Curators on caring: I bring collections to life For me, the curator is the guardian and champion of collections and places I care for our archaeology collection by understanding it and managing it I help to ensure the wellbeing and accessibility of objects I act as an advocate for conservation and preservation My role is looking after and studying the collections at our palaces

4 What is a curator? 2. Someone who RESEARCHES and becomes knowledgeable about the palaces and their history. That someone is an EXPERT, and KEEPER OF THE FLAME, a trained SPECIALIST, the guardian of the memory of the palaces, an experienced HISTORICAL INVESTIGATOR. - We know how to find things out, from whats the history of the White Tower, to how old is that door? - We carry out research thats the engine driving forward projects of the future. - We can give access to the memory of Historic Royal Palaces, through our records and files. - We can read sixteenth-century documents, analyse the information they contain, write guidebooks - We can guide you in finding things out for yourself. - We can tell you when Wikipedia is WRONG.

5 Curators on researching: I do historical research. My research and collections knowledge help to create unique and engaging experiences for our visitors I undertake historic research and architectural recording, providing advice and guidance on heritage management I undertake and publish detailed primary research, choose objects and arrange formal loans…I make finding existing research easier by beginning to organise our digital records My job as building curator is to research and understand the history and significance of the palaces I assist in research that guides how HRPs palaces are interpreted and presented … helping them discover a part of Britain. I help to collate and research stories and objects that bring the Tower to life …this can range from Googling (well, its a start) to visiting archives and collections, exploring picture libraries, and talking to experts

6 What is a curator? 3. Someone who COMMUNICATES about the palaces and their history. A curator is a STORY-TELLER, who acts as the IMAGINATION of Historic Royal Palaces, someone CREATIVE, capable of acting as the public face of HRP, a CHAMPION of history, who BRINGS THE PAST TO LIFE, someone who produces and presents exhibitions and collections. - We write the text for exhibitions - We provide PR for HRP to the media and wider cultural community - We write briefing documents about new projects - We show modern designers inspirational objects from the past, contributing to the creative industries in Britain today - We provide lots of information on demand, e.g. architectural drawings, for colleagues

7 Curators on communicating: I bring collections to life and lead creative projects My job is to open up a collection Most important of all, I influence the design and implementation of projects, from new exhibitions, to new heating systems My job is to communicate the history and significance of the palaces, to colleagues, our visitors, and the wider world I help to ensure the accessibility of objects from HRPs own collection, and those entrusted to us by other organisations I bring the Tower to life for the public – from informing physical displays and live interpretation, to being the subject of talks or films My job is ripping apart people's cosy misconceptions about history, challenging them to look at it in unexpected ways and to see their present in the light of our past

8 What would happen if there were no curators? … after a while, someone would reinvent us! Because: Our collection would be static or shrinking, rather than growing and active. Our interpretation would be less accurate, and people would notice and complain. Other museums and lenders wouldnt want to cooperate with us by making loans: lack of trust. We would no longer be a museum, as the legal requirements could not be met. Thered be no expert tours for development / education / members. The Press Office would have to do their own interviews. Historic fabric would be less valued, and people would treat old and modern fabric alike. Mistakes in fact would creep into our content: books, audio, whatever.

9 Historic Royal Palaces would lose its authority in the wider cultural world. Displays and exhibitions would have no objects: like the London Dungeon, or The Oxford Story, or trade fairs Priceless objects could be seen a liabilities, not objects, and get lost, damaged, forgotten or sold. The visitor experience we offer would begin to lack integrity and authenticity. It would become stale, and lose quality. This would leave to a loss of status and credibility, a loss of perceived value-for-money among our visitors, and ultimately it would hurt us financially. Time would be wasted as products and experiences would have to be re-designed. The best story would not be told. Other teams could not do their work without us. Historic Royal Palaces without its curators would have lost its heart and its intellectual integrity.

10 Where weve come from, and where were going… Once, in about 1989, curators ruled the roost at Historic Royal Palaces. There was a perception that their word was law. Over the years this obviously had to change. The needs of visitors and audiences are now rightly given much more prominence. There are now separate teams for conservation, education and interpretation. But we think that some people still use the word curator to mean dictatorial, elitist, fuddy-duddy, possibly mad and certainly eccentric. (We admit that sometimes we play up to eccentric.) Instead we now see ourselves as explorers or navigators, investigating history in order to bring the past and the cause to life for all types of audience. We feel that Historic Royal Palaces as a whole sees us as stuck in the past, still wanting to rule the roost, and resentful that were not. This is wrong, and makes it harder for us to do our job! We ask our colleagues to please give us credit for having changed … and also to listen to what weve got to say about the heart and soul of whats in our care: stories, things and places. The backbone of research that we provide runs throughout the whole experience that Historic Royal Palaces offers. This research is hard work, but we do it to inspire, excite, engage … Were going to be more visible, confident and articulate about what value we can offer visitors (and non-visitors).

11 What wed like to happen next There are some messages wed like to get across in 2013: - Research takes time. It is much more than simply picking up a book! - As we serve pretty much every department, YOUR project is only one of many for us - We find we have the sharpest clashes with some of our closest colleagues. A straw poll in our team meeting identified the following as teams wed like to reach a better understanding with: 1. maintenance 2. CCC And secondarily, 3. surveyors 4. interpretation

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