Vardo Project Curatorial Officer

Location
Worcestershire County Museum, Hartlebury Castle, Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ
Salary
£9,780 - £10,798 (pro rata)
Posted
17 Dec 2020
Closes
03 Feb 2021
Job Ref
WCTY000000563
Contract Type
Part time temporary
Working Pattern
Part Time
Hours
Part-Time

Museums Worcestershire is a joint museum service between Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council. The service manages three museums; Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum, The Commandery, Worcestershire County Museum, and a Collections Store.

We are passionate about the unique art, artefacts and stories that have shaped the identity of Worcester and Worcestershire for over 2000 years. We believe museums help to make sense of the world by inspiring deeper knowledge of our history and culture and we want to make our collections, buildings and stories accessible, relevant and enjoyable.

Museums Worcestershire are looking for a Vardo Project Curatorial Officer to work 17.5 hours per week on the 3 year John Ellerman funded Vardo Project. We are looking for someone who can bring colour, life and stories to our wonderful collection of Gypsy Vardos (caravans) through research, developing the accompanying archive, forging lasting relationships and conservation projects. We are looking for someone who believes that this unique collection is important and extraordinary, and who wants to capture its history, culture and essence.

Worcestershire County Museum cares for an extremely rare collection of Gypsy caravans, or 'vardos', including the Bow Top, the Square Bow, the Open Lot, the Ledge and a Hawker’s Cart. Each caravan has an extensive painted exterior and an equipped and decorated interior, most notably the spectacular Gypsy Queen. The vardo collection is, to our knowledge, the most complete in the UK.

The collection has national significance as the largest collection of Gypsy caravans on display in the country. It gives a rare insight into a history of our rural communities. This collection is important to Worcestershire where the GRT community has historically been the largest minority ethnic group. But the significance of this collection and the stories it can tell about a community’s way of life, identity and history of exceptional craftsmanship extends far beyond our county boundaries to take on a national, and potentially international, significance.

Despite the collection of caravans being on permanent display, the museum has little research and holds few contextualising archives. The John Ellerman Foundation funded Vardo Project Curatorial Officer will work exclusively on the Vardo project 17.5 hours per week for three years, to engage in research into the collection and to illuminate its context by:

  • developing our archive and contextualising collections across a range of media and topics, and making them accessible through digitisation, publication and interpretation
  • developing a specialist research-sharing network nationally and internationally
  • scientific investigation of the decoration and craftsmanship represented in the collection
  • working with volunteers, conservation of a vehicle as a case study in collections care and conservation to research and understand what appropriate levels of restoration looks like in transport collections.
  • working with the GRT community to record community history 
  • publishing and presenting the results of  research so that it can be widely accessed and used.
  • updating interpretation for the general public

Key requirements

To deliver the John Ellerman Museums and Galleries Funded Vardo Project to the project work plan, aims and objectives.

To be the public face of the John Ellerman funded Vardo Project, undertaking and attending enquiries, talks, tours, events and the creation and dissemination of research relating to the projects.

To be responsible for developing a supporting archive across a range of media in order to contextualise Worcestershire County Museum’s Vardo collection

To liaise with relevant archives, museums, contractors, institutions, specialists, groups and  GRT and farming communities to create and maintain networks and relationships.

Skills & Experience

Experience

  • Experience in a similar community focussed or heritage role
  • Experience of recording, archiving and communicating heritage information
  • Experience of responding to enquiries from the general public and specialist researchers
  • Experience of handling and working with museum objects

Specialist Knowledge        

  • History and arts knowledge and specialist knowledge of GRT history and culture desirable
  • Knowledge of the professional standards of care for museum objects
  • Level 3 qualification in a related subject or equivalent experience in a museum or community focussed heritage role
  • Museum or heritage qualification or equivalent experience in a museum or community focussed heritage role

Job Related Skills and Abilities  

  • Passion and enthusiasm for the work of Museums Worcestershire
  • Computer literate with good keyboard skills
  • Excellent verbal and communication skills
  • Able to work collaboratively within a team to achieve results.
  • Ability to build effective relationships with staff, partners and stakeholders
  • Team working skills and interpersonal skills
  • Delivering on budget and in time
  • Able to work on own initiative if/when required
  • A flexible approach to the day to day demands
  • A driving license and access to a vehicle/willingness to drive the museum van

Additional information

For more information please contact Deborah Fox on deborah.fox@worcester.gov.uk

Closing date: 3rd February 2021

Interview date: 11 February 2021

Supporting documents
Role profile
Person Specification

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