I need a job

July 24, 2010

Life is truly amazing. Here I sit, contemplating the past and wondering what the future now holds for me and the family. I’m 47 (09.12.1962) and following redundancy in June 2007, I stumbled upon a dream – to holiday with a difference. I paid to join an archaeological excavation in Lincoln and became fascinated by the association of latent interests which were now being realised.

I was also fortunate to meet Samantha, a 1st year student from Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln who was volunteering on the excavation alongside oter 1st year students. A blossuming relationship began which grew into love as well as what I sometimes consider to be the most ridiculous decision I’ve ever made…….to become a mature student myself.

Now some 3 years and 4 full excavations later, I find myself residing with Sam and her 3 children, our two dogs and have a 1st class honours degree in Heritage studies. I’ve also had the fabulous opportunity to open new friendships and find some real friends who will remain as such even if our lives move in different directions now.

The unfortunate side is that the redundancy monies and savings have gone, debts are spiralling and both Sam and myself are unemployed.

Despite my heady roles in finance, earning a decent level of income previously and my newly acquired level of intelligence, I’m faced with (as I did today) walking the streets, looking for jobs that will reduce the fears of financial ruin and the shame and stigma attached to becoming destitute and reliant upon a state who’s predicament could well mirror my own.

Some would say I took the wrong turn and should have simply returned to the financial world rather than brodening my horizons yet I would argue this. My life has been enriched by my newly discovered relationships as well as the increased knowledge and learnings, and no, this is not simply a begging blog or a ‘I feel sorry for myself’ statement.

My names Alan. I’ve 30 years banking experience which ended up at a fairly senior management level before I became supurfluous to their needs. I’m still quite sporty, enjoying bowls at county level and have a golf handicap of 12. Everyone that has met me has enjoyed respect and loyalty as befits their standing and I am hardworking and prepared to do most things in order to be successful in whatever I do.

If whoever reads this knows of anyone that has a position available, wants to open up dialogue because they’re in similar circumstances or can give some sane direction to this madness the world finds itself in then please conatct me via this blog.



I’d like to thank those that have responded by listing their own choices of items that they’d like to see in their own museum.

The interesting fact is that no-one to date has provided a duplicate item from someone else’s list indicating just how diverse we consider our own heritage to be.

I hope to receive more suggestions in due course but thought I’d list all of the suggested items received so far

Staffordshire Saxon Hoard

Millais Ophelia

Avebury Stone circle

Bishops Eye, window – Lincoln Cathedral

The Great Bed of Ware

Newport Arch – Lincoln

Hans Holbein’s ‘The Ambassadors’

The Basilica of St. Mark – Venice

The Luttrell Psalter

Engraved horse found at Creswell Craggs

The Rosetta Stone

The veiled Maiden Statue – Chatsworth

Vindolanda wax tablets

Lindisfarne Gospels

St Paul’s Cathedral

Palladio’s drawings

Maes Howe chambered cairn – Orkney

Victor Horta’s house – Brussels

Anne Boleyn’s glove

An Arc furnace

Silver punch bowl set

Carravaggio’s @Road to Emmaus’

The Dead Sea Scrolls

The Mona Lisa

A Terracotta soldier

Queen Elizabeth’s harpsichord

Steam Train

A recording of Jerusalem being sung

The Southern Cross

A Cotton GIN

A Lancashire loom

‘The General’ steam locomotive

A Henry Rifle

A Westinghouse Electric Generator

What would you display in your museum

As a third year mature student studying Heritage, I’ve been fortunate in being able to combine studies with frequent visits to museums, archives and galleries. During the visits, I found myself taking time to contemplate the reasons for the artefacts being displayed and the messages that were being conveyed by the curators.

A placement in my second year, at the Conservation Laboratory, Lincoln, opened my eye’s to a world beyond the Entrance and Exit doors of private and publicly funded establishments and gifted me the opportunity to appreciate and understand the true limitations of these so called learning environments.

What I mean by this actually relates to the artefacts exhibited. Take for example The British Museum, It now comprises over 8 million objects spanning the history of the world’s cultures: from the stone tools of early man to twentieth century prints. http://www.britishmuseum.org/the_museum/history_ and_the_building/history_of_the_collection.aspx However, only a small percentage of these are on display at any one time and of the rest, 1.8m are accessible on-line from its collections.

And please believe me when I say that the British Museum are a long way ahead of the rest of the museum community. From research that I’ve undertaken, I would summise that approximately 3% of UK total holdings are exhibited, with 1% of these rotated once a year, approx. 20% of total holdings are accessioned and available on-line but the remaining 75 – 77% is held in storage.

In America, Yakel recorded that ‘over 4.8 billion artefacts are in more than 30,000 archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, scientific research institutions and archaeological repositories’  and continued ‘fewer than 50% have a collections care plan, over a third of the collections are in unknown condition….and of the institutions surveyed, 25% of their collections are available through a catalogue’ (2006: pp 92 – 96)

Storage versus accessibility again varies across both the United States and the UK with the main determinates linked to staffing, funding and conservation. What seems to be the case, however, is that once an item is put in storage, there it generally tends to stay until capacity levels are reached at which point disposal strategies start to feature !!

I want to change this and these are my proposals for doing so;

1) Digitally record every item of heritage, be it artefact, building or location.
2) Build self-build virtual museums
3) Offer accessibility and hiring of digitally recorded items.
4) Individuals rent items and exhibit within their own mueums within a MMOG environment.

The task sounds relatively simple and certain factors already exist.

We’ve established that approx 10% of items are digitally recorded already, which equates to around 5m items. The virtual museum industry on the web is still in its infancy but design companies such as SANDBOX offer free downloads to enable users to design their own buildings, although the supporting software is limited at the current time. Finally, MMOG’s are expanding rapidly as the internet captures more of the public’s imagination. Games like Astro-Empires and Galactic Imperia attack on-line users by the thousand with no political or demarcation lines intervening.

So where are we today……well we’re just getting started. Let’s assume that the offer of a self-built museum is available, you’ve designed it and now you wish to populate it with exhibits from around the world. A database now lists every item and you can explore the item in a 3D aspect and gain knowledge that’s associated to it whilst viewing it.

You make a decision that this is what you want, then search out a method of display and yes you’d have to appreciate any conservation issues, Lux levels, humidity etc despite the fact that its a virtual environment.

You’ve gathered your items, positioned them and now you need to invite the public into your establishment to generate interest and feedback. All the time you’re doing the same by viewing others establishments.

What we would be able to create is a virtual environment containing a vast wealth of untapped knowledge, within a very real learning environment. An additional advantage would be a world-wide database that statutory/governing bodies could interrogate to establish preferences and levels of demand. The information could then be transferred into a commercial venture with specific marketing and advertisements drawing on a targeted market.

I think this is a potential avenue of consideration that could re-vitalize interest for the younger population by linking the past with modern day techniques of delivery and for the ever-expanding and inquisitive on-line user.

To gauge potential support for my idea, I would very much like to hear from you….what do you think? But more importantly I’d like to understand what you would like to see in your museum, especially as no limits would exist in this environment. Please respond by listing your top 5 or ten objects. My museum would hold the following items;

1) A Spitfire aeroplane
2) King Tutenkamuns sarcophugus
3) Sutton Hoo treasure
4) Hogarth’s Marriage a la mode
5) Statue of David
6) HMS Victory
7) The Sphynx
8) A knights armour
9) WW1 tank
10) Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings

I really look forward to reading yours.

Alternatively, please view this Prezi