Meet the Visitor Team

Visitor Team

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of our posts, now we’d like to tell you a little bit more about who we are and our reasons for writing this blog…

The Visitor Team at Manchester Museum is made of creative and caring people who are passionate about our museum and its collections, as well as the city of Manchester as a cultural destination. We each bring unique skills to the team and have a wide range of knowledge and interests.

Stories from the Museum Floor is an eclectic mix of our own thoughts and research about the objects, exhibitions, events, people and programmes at Manchester Museum. It is written by the Visitor Team, and welcomes guest posts from volunteers, work experience students and other members of museum staff.

Through personal stories and collective experiences, this blog is one of the ways that we can capture the conversations we have on the galleries and the narratives we explore that sometimes make new and unusual connections within the collection and beyond.
It also takes a look behind the scenes to reveal some of the projects that we and our colleagues are involved in, as we aim to help make Manchester Museum the most creative, inclusive and caring museum in the world!

Michelle and Luke (Editors)

For more about the collections at Manchester Museum, please visit the Curators’ blogs.

Who we are

 

Catherine
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I’m Catherine and I’ve been part of the Visitor Team since 2015. My background is in history, although most of what I studied is a little more modern than our collections – I’ve had to learn a lot about dinosaurs since starting working here! My interest in the social side of history gives me another way to look at our exhibits; I enjoy finding interesting stories about the history of the objects and the museum itself to share with everyone.

I’m also the team’s unofficial baker, keeping up a steady supply of cakes and biscuits to get us through the busy weekends!

The Hidden Women of the Civil War
A Tale of Two Coins
Object Lessons: Imagining the Prehistoric

Chiara

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I have been a member of the Visitor Team since 2015 and I have contributed to Stories from the Museum Floor and Collection Bites with topics inspired by my passions and knowledge; history of colours and pigments, art, contemporary design and ancient history.

I deliver Italian tours for beginners and native speakers. My personal project is to look at ways in which we can use smart technology to increase the level of digital engagement and accessibility for the museum’s collections (with a particular focus on blind and visually impaired visitors). I graduated in Set Design at the Fine Arts Academy in Italy and I have been working in national theatres and museums ever since.

Smart Device, Smart Museum
Christabel Pankhurst (Wonder Women)
Bludgeons and Dragons (Part 1): A Rainbow in Jars

Deborah

My name is Deborah and I am a member of the Visitor Team here at Manchester Museum. I especially love meeting the very youngest of visitors and love to see the looks of amazement on their faces as they explore. I am passionate about Equality & Diversity and also support the wider university activities to help promote this.

Gender Identity – Alliances for Solidarity
Reena Saini Kallat
After the Bees

Diana

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What I really love as part of the Visitor Team is using our amazing natural history collection to connect our visitors with nature. Also, I enjoy making connections between the objects and artefacts on display with cultures, especially from South American (countries where I have lived), and sharing them through our blog, museum outreach activities and more recently, during our highlight tours in Spanish. With experience in curation of natural history collections, I am interested in promoting the use of collections, creating resources to provide access to museum specimens, and sharing their importance with the public.

Red Gold – A Story of Sacred Shells
A Colombian History in Five Objects
Not just old birds in cases

Fang

fangI’ve been part of the Visitor Team since 2014. After many years in academic research and education, I switched my career to the University Museum because of my fascination for museums since childhood, the enjoyable working atmosphere and the wonderful people I work with.

Although my background is in Biology and Biomedicine, including a PhD in Medical Science, my interests are broader. I like to explore museum objects from multiple angles: history, culture, nature, art and health etc. Promoting our collections to wider audiences, I contribute to Collection Bites and the Visitor Team Blog. My post All about Love was featured on the WordPress Discover page, and I was interviewed for BBC Radio Manchester about The Chinese Manchu Headdress. I also deliver tours in Mandarin, and assist in preparations for the #MMhellofuture Chinese Culture Gallery.

When not working in our museum, I am often rambling through woods and over hills, or strolling around other museums.

The Chinese Manchu Headdress
Valentine’s Day – All about Love …
China from CHINA

Jennie

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Hi, my name is Jennie. With over seven years as a Visitor Team Assistant, my collection of widespread general and some more specific knowledge now spans the archaeology, ethnography, anthropology and natural history collections, but I have always been particularly fascinated by earth science. More specifically rocks and sparkly objects intrigue me just by their appearance, but also by the complex processes of there formation. The subjects peak my interest, which I then translate into various tours, talks, blogs and many daily conversations with the public.

I am also an active advocate of the ethos behind the Happy Museum and Playful Museum projects, and organise regular Museum Play Days and activities. These are sometimes to promote awareness in relation to associated children’s rights or simply for the sheer fun and playfulness of it. Like the earth they are constantly evolving, as is my role in the Visitor Team, and who knows about the future, apart from nothing is set in stone.

National Play day
Rock Blog Part 1
Gold!

Laura

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Hi, I’m Laura and I’ve been working on the Manchester Museum Visitor Team since 2015. My background is in fine art with a particular interest in sculpture and photography. I’m passionate about creativity and learning which I explore through my work on the galleries, running the family workshops and contributing to the museums social media programme. In my spare time I love to travel and take photographs. I also run a small ceramics business, creating sculptural forms and bespoke homewares inspired by the Museum’s natural history collection.

Climate Control: Climate Exchange
Unicorn of the Sea: The Age of Exploration
The Demoiselle Crane

Louise T

Museum Dreams....

My name is Louise T and I am part of the visitor team at Manchester Museum. I’m especially interested in social and cultural history from pretty much any time and place. I enjoy collecting quirky facts and I love listening to the funny, fascinating and sometimes extraordinary tales our visitors have to tell.

The Angel in the North
Stan The T.Rex Visited By ‘Long Lost Family’
Art and the Modern Museum

Luke G

I started at Manchester Museum as a volunteer for school holiday activities, and was fortunate enough that soon afterwards, part-time work became available in both our Learning Team and Visitor Team. I chose to stick with the Visitor Team as I enjoy the more natural interaction over a structured workshop, allowing the learner/visitor to choose their own path and being able to assist them however they may need.

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On a more personal note – I really enjoy spending time in woodland areas, landscape photography and playing the mandolin.

A Fistful of Dollars
Mythical Creatures in Manchester Museum
Keeping in Mind – Dementia and Museums

Luke A.W

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Hi. I’m a Manchester native though I spent a good deal of my formative years growing up in Ontinyent, Spain. I have worked in the Manchester Museum’s Visitor Team for a number of years now to the extent that I’ve almost entirely forgotten what life in the outside world was like. In my spare time I like to write and experiment with synthesizers, but I also have a lifelong interest in history, especially ancient history, as well as ethnography and foreign languages, as such it would be fair to say that I’m much more comfortable here at the museum than I ever was working in a corporate office. Along with editing this blog I also help to coordinate our foreign language tours which we currently offer in Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin.

Enheduanna – Priestess, Poet and Woman of Power
Two Thousand Years / Two Thousand Miles
A Tower for the Living, a Tomb for the Dead

María José

Maria Jose

I have been a proud member of the Visitor Team at Manchester Museum since 2015. I am fascinated by anything to do with history; with the adventures of human beings since the beginning of time, and with what they have left behind for us in the form of stories, objects from daily life, or Art. I see those manifestations as powerful tools for understanding the present, learning from past mistakes, and for building a fairer future.

Agatha Christie (Wonder Women)
Sharing the World (Advent 2017)
Summertime and the livin’ is easy

Michelle

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As a member of the Visitor Team, the things I am most passionate about are objects and stories. I like to find new and creative ways to think and talk about old objects. Editing (and writing for) this blog, working with the Museum’s social media team and coordinating the Collection Bites series of public talks each give me opportunities to explore storytelling as a way to connect with new audiences and communities, and reveal untold histories about past people. Outside the Museum I teach at the University of Manchester, where I am also a PhD student, researching material memory, identity and divine kingship in Egypt at the end of the fourth millennium BC.

Returning an ancestor, a reflection
The Gods and Their Makers
From Shrunken Heads to Collective Conversations

Maxine

Maxine

I am from Birmingham and I am over 40 (22 in my head). I have lived in Manchester for 15 years. I have been working for the museum all of 15 years! Damn where did that go! I was hired when the last extension was finished in 2003.

I am first generation Irish. I come from a big Irish family where I am the youngest of five. Let’s just say my family could populate a small corner of Birmingham, and I love them all dearly. I don’t have any children and I’m very happy without them thank you.

In 2015 I was finally able to get married when the government made it possible for me and my partner of 17 years, now my lovely wife of 3 years. This was one of the happiest days of my life and if I could do it all again I would.

I love photography and drawing. Street photography is my favourite type and I am currently getting out as much as I can.

Kusunoki Masashige: Loyal To The End
Amelia B. Edwards – A Thousand Miles up the Nile
A Wolf’s Tail

Peter W

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Peter Williams,
Married (40 years),
2 sons,
Football Fan (FC United of Manchester),
Been working at the Museum for 14 years.

Fifteen Children and a T-Rex!
Birds of Fancy
Wren Day

Shaun

Shaun

My name is Shaun and I work as a Visitor Team Coordinator. I enjoy being at the Museum, as I find it a unique atmosphere.

In December 2008 I was successful in gaining employment as a Visitor Team member at the Museum. A couple of months later I was promoted to Visitor Team Coordinator and love supporting the team day to day.

My passion lies in the Museum’s Egypt collection, and this is one area that I often discuss with visitors. I love talking about mummification, the journey from the final judgement and the afterlife.

Scrimshaws and the fascinating story of Rachel Pringle Polgreen
Pompeii: Walking Through The Past
From Volunteer to Supervisor

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