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.
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.
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