Jennifer Smith - Museum Assistant Jennifer Smith - Museum Assistant

Jennifer SmithQualification

BA History of Art and Museum and Gallery Studies

Date Graduated

2013

Employer

Museum Assistant, Colchester and Ipswich Museum

 

How has your career developed since graduating?

My career path has been a bit of a rollercoaster since I graduated. After finishing my exams I immediately jumped into a summer role with the Royal Collections Trust based in Buckingham Palace.I worked in visitor services – an exciting yet exhausting role.

After this contract, I began working in a warehouse role and soon became the Sales and Marketing Manager. Shortly after, I realised that I missed the heritage sector and was then offered a position with Colchester and Ipswich Museum Services.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role?

There are so many excellent and exciting parts to my job. I have taken a visitor services job that is both varied and challenging.

I am currently working on a costumed tours project which we hope to release soon. Overall the most rewarding part is getting people excited about history and heritage –
and this project will definitely do that.

What sets you aside from your colleagues?

What truly sets me aside is my determined attitude and eagerness to take on new challenges. Whether it be learning how to clean a taxidermy peacock, polishing a sword, or developing a new feedback form.

Why did you choose to study art at UEA?

I knew that I loved art and I had always been in love with museums. When it came to facilities, UEA had no competition. With the Art History department benefiting from the Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Arts, I just couldn’t resist. The array of modules on offer also grabbed me, especially the museum ones.

What skills did you learn at UEA?

I left with many new and valuable skills. Obviously the knowledge imparted was highly valuable, but the ability to balance deadlines, think about things from every angle, and present ideas are very important in my career.

How do you use these skills in your current role?

My research skills have been vital for the costumed tours project and my presentation skills are paramount to my job. I give presentations to primary school children in workshops, to every day visitors, colleagues and museum community groups.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this course was how it completely changed my taste in art purely by getting me to think about it differently. I did not expect to leave with a huge passion for Japanese art and British portraiture. But here I am – now I’m completely obsessed. That was the most enjoyable thing – the development of my passion and me as a person.

Did you undertake work experience during your studies?

In the summer after second year I volunteered at Gainsborough’s House and this cemented my passion for museums. It helped me understand how a museum is run day to day which has definitely helped me in my career.

Would you recommend studying this course to others?

UEA has a fantastic atmosphere, especially in the History of Art department. The campus is beautiful, as is the city of Norwich.