Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Girl Museum? What goes into making the online museum that you know and love? Well look no further, because our team at Girl Museum have kindly offered to give us an insight into their lives and what they do to make the Girl Museum world go around…
Behind the scenes with the Girls of Girl Museum continues with our Curator, Devon Allen!
How did you first get involved with Girl Museum?
I had a friend who was already on the books, so when I saw a post looking for more Curatorial Interns I asked her what she thought and if it was worth applying — she loved it and I wanted a proper start in museums, so I took the chance. That was 2 years ago this May, so I’ve been around for a while now. I was originally taken on just to deal with the Mythological Girls column since that was my background, but I managed to slowly weasel my way into the podcasts, then the exhibitions and now here we are!
What does a normal day look like for you?
Honestly there is no ‘typical day’ for me which is why I think I love it as much as I do!
This week I’ve helped to co-write grant applications, written a podcast, drafted a few columns and worked on both exhibitions I’m running at the moment. I have a fantastic team with me for the Fay or Foe exhibition (February 2019), so a lot of it right now is just researching and writing my own sections and being around in case anyone needs me. If you ask me later this year, I’ll be working full time on The Power of She (December 2018); writing the content and getting everything ready to go live. We’re also starting to look at the possibilities of YouTube, so hopefully I’ll be adding that to my list soon too! As we’re based all around the world, all contact is via email, skype or slack so there’s plenty of group chats to respond to as well which all keeps me busy.
As a self-confessed bookaholic, is there any particular book that inspires you in your work at Girl Museum?
There are so many books, especially for folklore and mythology and I want to recommend every single one. My favourite for a while has been Fairytale in the Ancient World by Graham Anderson, which goes into the ancient histories of stories like ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ If you’re looking for more mythology, start with the Encyclopaedia of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan.
But honestly, I love stories from anywhere in the world and have been known to use anything as inspiration. I re-read the Harry Potter series recently and wrote a Mythological Girls column on the Nagini deities and have been known to grab an interesting looking book in the library and churn out a blog post on whoever it’s about.
In addition to your Girl Museum duties, what other ventures are you currently pursuing?
Outside of Girl Museum, I spend the rest of my time in museums around West Yorkshire. Right now, I’m volunteering in the conservation department in The University of Leeds Special Collections, the collections team for Bradford Police Museum and I’m helping a woollen company curate a building-wide exhibition on their production history. My paid work is at Harewood House in the house Visitor Experience team, so I’m really lucky in that I get to spend my days in beautiful places and/or with amazing objects. I’m also toying with the idea of writing a book but that’s still in the land of the hypothetical at the moment. As is my PhD…
Finally, do you have a favourite blog, exhibition, or podcast? If so what, and why?
Obviously our very own GirlSpeak – I can’t be a part of the team and NOT use this opportunity to plug it. But away from all things Girl Museum, I’m a huge fan of the In Our Time and the Ted Talks Daily podcasts. I genuinely have 190+ episodes downloaded on to my phone which I haven’t gotten around to listening to yet. There’s also the Conspiracy Theories podcast that I’ve found recently which I’m slowly becoming obsessed with…not 100% sure I should be admitting to that one though!
Did you enjoy this series? Want to see more of what goes on behind the computers of Girl Museum? Tell us in the comments what you’d like to see!
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