We all have pas­sion – to be in this role you need that

Find out more about the V&A Dundee at www.vam.ac.uk/dundee.

The People's Friend Special - - REAL LIFE -

There is no typ­i­cal day for Dr Mhairi Maxwell, As­sis­tant Cu­ra­tor of V&A Dundee. And that’s just the way she likes it!

Mu­seum of Scot­land in Ed­in­burgh. Part of that was look­ing at sites that had been ex­ca­vated in the Seven­ties. I spent months in a dark­ened room with no win­dows look­ing at these ob­jects – I just loved it! I guess that got me on the path I’m on now.

Ev­ery day varies at V&A and that’s why I love my job; you never know what you’re get­ting. I get in at nine a.m., or just be­fore. We don’t open un­til 10.

Part of my job is car­ing for the col­lec­tions, mak­ing sure that they’re be­ing pro­tected and con­served prop­erly. In our open­ing week we had al­most 30,000 vis­i­tors through our door.

That’s fan­tas­tic, but nerve-rack­ing as re­gards car­ing for ev­ery­thing.

Ev­ery­thing has its own unique quirks – we know them all. We’re there for at least an hour, clean­ing, check­ing and mon­i­tor­ing things that are par­tic­u­larly del­i­cate.

When the pub­lic are in, I busy my­self with work­ing through my e-mails. At the mo­ment it’s a lot: at least 50 a day, but some­times a lot more. Often we have meet­ings, look­ing at pro­grammes for fu­ture ex­hi­bi­tions or meet­ing with de­sign­ers.

Work­ing with peo­ple who are alive is way more ex­cit­ing than what I did be­fore with ar­chae­ol­ogy. Get­ting to com­mu­ni­cate your knowl­edge to them in a di­rect way is won­der­ful.

If we’re com­mis­sion­ing an artist or de­signer to do a piece for us, I’ll visit their stu­dios, meet with them and get a peek into their world. I ab­so­lutely adore that. I think it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to get an in­sight into their brains and see ev­ery­thing come to life.

I try to take a lunch break and I can usu­ally take 10 min­utes sit­ting in Slessor Gar­dens out­side. It’s changed the land­scape in this part of the city.

They’re build­ing an ar­ti­fi­cial beach next door on the water­front so soon I’ll be able to go there!

We have an amaz­ing win­dow near our of­fice, too. You can stand there and get a sense of the wa­ter lap­ping up against the award-win­ning build­ing.

I like to talk to the vis­i­tors. The other day I was speak­ing to a guy who was scep­ti­cal, say­ing he didn’t think it was for him.

When he walked through the doors, he de­scribed the build­ing as a hug. That will re­ally stick with me.

My hours can be quite anti-so­cial. The team is great, though. We’re all pals and we all have pas­sion – to be in this role you need that.

Ev­ery­thing went to plan when we opened. We’d been build­ing up to it for a year and a half at least and it all went swim­m­ingly. When the day came I was at the con­cert in Slessor Gar­dens.

I had friends from

Lon­don vis­it­ing and when the V&A build­ing lit up I ac­tu­ally burst into tears!

We’d fi­nally reached that in­cred­i­ble mo­ment we’d been work­ing to­wards.

. rk u G c M l e a h ic M

. w o r C n o ft u H


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