Today’s Story from the Museum Floor is a guest blog by Megan Jones who is a final year degree student, who has been working with Curatorial Assistant Kate Sherburn in Manchester Museum’s minerals store.
For more about rocks and minerals, have a look at the Curator’s blog, Palaeo Manchester.
The Mineral Archives
My name is Megan Jones and I am a university student studying photography in my last year of education. I have been lucky enough to collaborate with Manchester Museum in order to create my final year project, for which I have explored the mineral archives within the Earth Science Department in Manchester Museum. My project’s purpose was to open the doors to the hundreds of hidden objects that are kept behind the scenes at the Museum. As we all know, there is no way that everything can be displayed at the same time so a lot of the objects go unseen by the thousands of visitors that come to Manchester Museum.
With over 17,000 minerals in the Museum’s collection I set out to photograph as many as possible – the project’s main intentions were to expose as much as possible, allowing me to share the experience I have had exploring the mineral archives. I wanted to challenge the boundaries that surround museums, exploring how our visits are censored even if we do not realise it; the museum is deciding what we get to see and what we do not.
By photographing objects from the archive I have allowed myself to reproduce the minerals taking them out of their intended aura to create something completely different; a reproduction with a different importance by it being a photograph this is something that can be reproduced and reproduced time after time in contrast with the originals locked away behind closed doors, therefore the importance of the images is very different in comparison to the minerals within the museum. My aim was to expose these beautiful minerals to the public allowing them to view the museum as I do, a place where people become inspired, mesmerised and captivated by the beauty one building holds.
My work and my classmates’ Final Year Projects were displayed at Leaf Portland Street Manchester took place between 16th and 23rd June 2017.
Thank you or taking the time to read about my project. You are very welcome to leave questions or comments below.
All photographs © Megan Jones