People often ask me what curators do. Usually my answer is “we research, collect, document and display objects.” However, this answer doesn’t seem to satisfy people who wonder what really goes on behind the scenes in the museums and galleries.
I picked a typical day during the development of an exhibition Spirit of jang-in: treasure of Korean metal craft and recorded every thing I did that day. This is my diary on 9th of September 2011. It shows what curators do and gives an insight into exhibition development.
9:00 am Visit the construction site of the exhibition on Level 4
9:30 Meet with Sarah (Registrar) – art works from Melbourne arrived yesterday. Discussed a condition report and photos.
9:45 Discussion with Alysha (Assistant Curator) – Checked and commented on captions for contemporary works from Korea for the exhibition publication.
10:10 Answer public inquiries re Museums’ Asian objects
10:13 Work on copyright for music to be played in the exhibition.
10:17 Discussion with Skye Mitchell (conservator) re scent to be used in the exhibition. The idea was to evoke a Korean environment with scents such as pine trees. It was later decided not to use scents because of conservation issues.
10:18 Discussion (phone call) with the National Museum of Korea regarding the loan objects.
10:40 Meet with Vicki Berlinden (exhibition designer) – discuss object supports for display
11:00 Discuss marketing materials
11:40 Discuss Korean media preview with Lee Hyung ho (senior resident fellow from the Korean government)
11:55 Visit the object storage area to check objects
12:12 pm Have lunch at my desk and work on exhibition theme labels
1 :00 Meet with Estee Wah (online developer) to discuss website – select images for the nine sections of the online exhibition.
1:45 Work on exhibition labels and catalogue text – correct texts and translate theme title into Korean
2:40 Visit the bathroom & make a cup of tea
2:46 Continue working on labels
4:15 Discuss contemporary sections in the exhibition with assistant curator
4:40 Receive a phone call from the National Museum of Korea
5:00 Work on marketing material
5:30 Discuss public programs with Young-soo Kim, Director of Korean Cultural Office in Sydney
Tired and lost track ….
6:20pm going home