On the 1st March we were delighted to welcome students from Central St Martin’s University to our Museum Depot for the day as part of our current Access to Art collaborative course with the University.
Volunteers John Dodd, David Burnell, Tom Cavanagh and Stephen West were on hand to offer a number of in depth tours of our Art and Poster stores. As part of the course our Museum curators have highlighted ten posters in the collection which are to be transformed into short animations; though not all the posters were accessible, volunteers were able to speak about a range of posters/artworks in the collection by the same artists, which really helped the students put their posters into context both with artists other works and the imagery and trends of the period. The outcomes of the project will hopefully be revealed in a few weeks’ time…
On Saturday 7th January the Young Consultants took a trip to the London Transport Museum Depot.
We had the amazing opportunity to work with curator Claire Dobbin, and we were luckily granted the chance to help select the pocket maps to appear in the upcoming exhibition “Mind the Map”.
The Depot, based in Acton Town holds the history of London Transport from pocket maps & posters to the last buses and trains of their kind, which eventually receive funding for repair and gets used as exhibits in places like the LTM.
During my action packed day at the Depot I learnt a lot of information on the history of transport which gave me the answers to many unanswered questions.; such as how the underground map we use today was created.
I explored the different types of pockets maps from the past 200 years, looking at various different designers and how and why they have changed.
At the Museum Depot we have a fantastic team who regularly work together to restore and maintain some of our signalling equipment that we have acquired, such as the York Road and Marble Arch signal frames. They are currently working on restoring Marble Arch back in to working order, and have gone through a long journey of acquiring parts and the right skills and input. Bill Collins from the signalling team has proved an update on their current progress, and how 2012 looks for them:
“We are currently wiring up the two frames (Eastbound & Westbound) that will go into the equipment cabinet that will allow us to control Marble Arch frame. We then need to connect the equipment cabinet via multicore cables to the frame & diagram plus train description and miscellaneous items to the frame.
We have all the items we need and are making good progress towards March 10th (Our next Depot Open Weekend). I’m not yet convinced that we will have all up & working by then but we do have the computer side of things already done and tested. This allows us to test our items but most importantly allows us to ‘produce’ trains, and then via the Signalling frame allow them to run through the station or terminate and reverse west to east via the siding.
There are also all of the train descriptions to manage along with operating the frame. Naturally we will have to test all of the above if we are to have things working by then, but whatever happens, I believe we will be able to demonstrate some ‘life’ happening with Marble Arch by then!”
On Saturday 19th November two of our volunteers, Tom Cavanagh and John Dodd, delivered the first official tours to the public on the museum’s art and poster collection at the Acton Depot. Visitors had the opportunity to take a peek at the extensive collection of works held in the art and poster stores, and learn all about how many of the works were made, why they were commissioned and how they came to be in the London Transport Museum’s collection. The art and poster stores are usually closed off to the public, and can only be accessed whilst either being supervised by staff or as part of a tour. Access to the Museum’s art and poster collection has been growing steadily this year, with a number of Poster Parade exhibitions at the museum in Covent Garden and regular features on the museum’s blog. And now we have tours of the collection too!
Throughout this year a number of our volunteers have spent many days being trained by our Safety and Citizenship, Visitor Services and Curatorial staff. One of the great things about volunteering with London Transport Museum is that our staff have a very hands on attitude, which allows our volunteers the opportunity to work closely alongside staff giving them a great insight into any tasks and projects they get involved with. Our volunteers have worked very hard researching their content, practising delivering and ironing out any small creases to the point they are feeling very comfortable with giving tours to willing visitors. Our next scheduled tours will be in January 2012, so make sure to book a ticket while you still can!
On Friday 9th September a team of curators and museum technical assistants arrived early at London Transport Museum to install the new extended poster parade, John Burningham: Journeys of Imagination which celebrates the transport related work of the renowned children’s author and illustrator John Burningham.
Poster parades have to be installed early in the morning to be sure that everything is ready for the Museum’s opening at 11am. Today a larger team than usual assisted with the installation which included new features such as an introductory panel, a Flickr wall panel and floor graphics featuring a leaf design taken from one of the featured posters.
The new poster parade, John Burningham: Journeys of Imagination, features 7 out of the 9 posters John made for London Transport in the early 1960s. These posters will feature with John’s rarely seen travel commissions made for other transport companies during the same period.
Part way through the poster parade, a new commission by John will be installed. Children’s London was first commissioned by London Transport in 1968 but was never completed … until now. London Transport Museum has recommissioned this work which will go on display in the poster parade and will also be available for purchase from the Museum shop.
The Fleming Gallery is also hosting their own John Burningham exhibition which will focus on John’s career as a children’s author and illustrator. Their exhibition, John Burningham: An Illustrated Journey runs from 13th September to 22nd December.
Being a Young Consultant at London Transport Museum is a great way to gain new skills in a working environment. Since April 2011 I’ve been a part of the Young Consultants at LTM, and already I feel like I’ve gained a wide range of skills.
One of the projects I did as a Young Consultant was at Coram’s Fields Youth Centre, where I was able to speak to other young people about work experience. This was to help them understand that there are different ways to gain as well as improve their skills. It was a great way to share a personal testimony on the skills I’ve gained, and how I became a Young Consultant at LTM.
As I am about to leave LTM and move on to study at Coventry University, I want to take this opportunity to let other young people know that the journey they take will not be easy but when they look back at what they have achieved, they can be proud of themselves. If there is an opportunity grab it, because you’ll never know when the next one will come.
Earlier this year the wonderful Charlotte Stevenson undertook a curatorial internship here at London Transport Museum. Charlotte is now busy writing her final paper, however she has taken some time out to write about her experience below.
Curatorial (Conservation) Internship 31st May 2011 – 3rd August 2011, by Charlotte Stevenson
Over Summer I completed an internship at London Transport Museum focusing on a conservation project for the Uniform Collection in storage at the LTM Depot. This project was the basis for my final dissertation of my MA in Conservation.
The project was not just about making padded coat hangers so that the costumes are well supported when they hang, the objectives of the project were to conduct condition assessments of the entire collection, perform informed basic conservation treatments to ensure that the garments were clean and pest free, make basic storage enhancements and create guidelines and fact sheets for all treatments, storage enhancements and other preventive conservation treatments performed.
The Uniform Collection in the stores of the Museum’s Depot location with the Statutory Collection and a smaller Handling Collection combined contains a total of 884 objects. Some people would find looking for evidence of insect infestation, deterioration and damage boring but this is a fascinating area of museology. There is nothing I like more than freezing an item that has been infested by moths and then vacuum the evidence and other loose surface dirt away.
This internship greatly improved my knowledge of textiles conservation and collection care as well as integrated pest management. The internship also provided me with a holistic perspective on working in museums, making my career plan to work in museums concrete.
After completing all condition assessments, treatments and guidelines I performed a demonstration at the Curatorial Department Training on August 3rd 2011. Below is a screen shot from a recording showing me making a padded coathanger using polyester wadding, cotton stockingette and needle and thread on a plastic coathanger. You can even try this at home for your precious garments.
During the induction week young volunteers were given the opportunity to become familiar with the Museum. Over a period of four days the young people took part in a variety of different activities and met with different members of staff to help build up their knowledge of the Museum and better understand how it operates.
In particular they spent time developing their own map of the Museum, choosing significant objects from the collection to help navigate their way around each gallery. They had an opportunity to speak with Nadia Adira (Visitor Services Manager) and find out how the Museum runs from an operations perspective; as well as spend a day with Community Curator Michelle Brown, who delivered a creative activity that helped the young volunteers explore their own personal connections to the Museum’s collections.
Since November 2009 we have been working with an amazing group of young people, known to the Museum as the Young Consultants.
Over the last 18 months these five young people have helped to shape our policies and ways of working with young people across the Museum. They have been involved collectively and individually in innumerable projects, from developing tools for reinterpretation to interviewing freelance educators for our community art project Bus Shelters. They have represented the Museum at a regional and national level and are, in their own words, “the bridge between this museum and the young people of today … and tomorrow”.
Since May of this year the Young Consultants have been working on a strategy to take their involvement in the Museum to the next level. I have had the enormous pleasure of working alongside them, and together we have now outlined a series of aims and objectives that support both the skills development of the Young Consultants themselves, as well as working towards embedding more opportunities for other young people throughout the Museum.
Over the coming months the Young Consultants will be working on multiple projects which aim to;
Increase their ‘professional experience’ through networking events, running meetings and speaking at conferences.
Work with other museums and young people around London.
Work across the Museum’s departments, emphasising the indispensable role young people can play through their skills and creativity.
Become involved in core development projects for exhibitions such as Journeys in 2012 and LU150 in 2013.
Excitement in the office as the artwork for a small exhibition to celebrate the end of the Bus Shelter project arrives! Here’s a sneak preview of one of the panels, which should be going up in our temporary exhibition space by the end of the week!