Inside the Collection

Ask a Curator Day 2017

Ask a MAAS Curator Poster

The Museum staff have a huge job caring for our enormous collection of over 500,000 objects. Our team includes experts in a vast range of areas, including: fashion, health and medicine, architecture, engineering, sciences, design, decorative arts, technologies and contemporary culture.

Ask a Curator Day is a worldwide initiative that lets people connect directly to museum professionals to ask them questions. We’re excited to be one of nearly 1500 museums taking part this year across 58 countries.

It’s not just curators!

At MAAS #askacurator day is not just about the curators, it includes all museum professionals, whether they work behind the scenes or front-of-house. This year we’re teaming up with some of our amazing registration and conservation staff. They have their own incredible depth of knowledge and expertise about our collection and together help care for our collection and make it accessible to our visitors.

How to ask a question?

This year #askacurator day is on Wednesday 13 September. Our team will be available from 10am to 5pm (AEST) to answer your questions. Head over to Twitter and join in using the hashtag #askacurator. You can tweet questions to us @maasmuseum or post questions on this blog.

The day will be jam packed with interesting people, ready to answer your questions. Check out our timeline if you have a specific interest in the Museum’s collection or just fire questions away any time that suits. Profiles of some of our #askacurator stars can be perused on our recent National Science Week blog or past #askacurator blogs.

Sneak peek: meet Suzanne Chee

As a taster for what to expect on the day, we spoke to Suzanne Chee, conservator extraordinaire at MAAS, to find out a little about her work. You can ask her more questions on twitter tomorrow!

Conservator Suzanne Chee at work with shoe collection
Conservator Suzanne Chee at work with shoe collection H4448, various makers, England, 1500-1920. Photo: Marinco Kojdanovski, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

How did you become a conservator? Midway through my BA studies in Fine Arts, archaeology and languages I became interested in the field of conservation. I decided to pursue that direction after my degree.

What’s your area of expertise? Fashion and textiles.

What’s your favourite collection object? These shoes (below) were made in Europe from 1830s-1860s. They show great attention to detail and craftsmanship. A wide range of fabrics were used including silks, straw and kilims.

Shoes made in Europe during the 1830s-1860s
Shoes made in Europe during the 1830s-1860s. From left: H4448-24, A6119, A7020 and 86/491. Photo: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

What do you do in a day? I write condition reports on objects and repair damaged areas if necessary. I take photos, design object supports for display and storage and attend exhibition meetings.

What are you working on at the moment? I am working on a boy’s kimono made in the late 19th century or early 20th century. This is a winter garment, with layers of silk wadding sandwiched between silk. What makes this remarkable is the delicate hand painted scenes of Japanese battleships.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to become a conservator? Good hand skills are a must, patience and great attention to detail. There are courses in cultural materials conservation in Canberra, Melbourne and of course outside Australia.

Full size of boys silk/cotton Kimono
86/512 – Boy’s kimono, made in Japan c. 1895. Photo: Russell Perkins, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.
Detail of boys silk/cotton Kimono
Detail of battleships on boy’s kimono. Photo: Mandy Crook, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

 

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