C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Bulletin Number 6 - Feb. 2000
Internship Report by Jonathan Murphy
Stepping into the World Museum Community
After graduating from University and spending five months searching for work being accepted as an intern for the Commonwealth Association of Museums was exciting and wonderful. Speaking with Lois Irvine in Calgary by phone and e-mail I came to realize what a great opportunity it was to work for a professional and competent organization with contacts and projects throughout the world.
After the initial contract was signed, I met with my fellow Interns who were traveling to Africa as well as Barbados. During these meetings I began to learn what it meant to enter the professional cultural community. Soon I was to find myself in the sunny and hospitable climes of Barbados.
I arrived in Barbados after orientation in Canada on September 27th. The sun was hot and heavy in my new home but the ready smiles of the local Bajans at the airport made me feel welcome. Caroline Lanthier, my fellow intern from Canada, and I were shown to our new apartment near the Barbados Museums & Historical Society where we would be based and settled in for the next five months.
My work in Barbados was centred on two projects. The first of these was a survey of collections in the Caribbean to address issues of research and emergency preparedness, and the development of the Museums Association of the Caribbean (MAC) web site. I completed a survey of museum collections in the Caribbean and distributed it to the members of MAC. While participating in the planning and presentation aspects of the MAC 10th annual AGM November 18th to the 22nd, I was able to learn much about the challenges and projects of the museum community in the Caribbean. The survey was aimed at obtaining a comprehensive picture of the collections in the Caribbean. This effort focused on the type of collections in addition to the use of space in museums and collections size. This information would make it easier to anticipate emergency preparedness needs of museums that may need help. The database has been created and results from the survey are coming into MAC to be inputted.
The Mac web site at http://www.sunbeach.net/museum has been a pleasure to create as it enabled me to expand my skills as a web site developer within a cultural organization. The site allows for the dissemination of information to members and a resource for researchers interested in the Caribbean trying to make contact with particular institutions in the region. This aspect of my Internship exposed me to the many possibilities of multi-media and Internet development in relation to museums. Eventually it is hoped that an integration of the collections database and web site may be possible to allow researchers remote access to this information. (Note: Unfortunately the website is not in current operation. It is hoped that it will be accessible again in the near future).
While working in Barbados I was exposed to more than my fair share of, sun, surf, and sand, but most importantly I gained an understanding of what it is to work in, and for, cultural organizations like CAM and MAC. They operate over long distances and project their resources, personnel, and capabilities to regions all over the world.
My Internship with the Commonwealth Association of Museums has expanded my experience and allowed me to enter into the professional world of the cultural community on the world stage. I would like to thank my supervisor in Canada, Lois Irvine, for all the support and advice during my internship. I would also like to thank those in Barbados, like Laura Picard-Leach of the Caribbean Conservation Association, and Alissandra Cummins, Director of the Barbados Museums and Historical Society for allowing me to make this my first step after University into the world museum community.
Soon after my return to Canada the Director of the British School in Rome, Professor Wallace-Hadrill, contacted me. He invited me to work with him on archaeological computer application projects in Italy. In particular, Professor Wallace-Hadrill wishes to use computers in the detailed 3D recording of a block of houses in Pompeii.
Another aspect of the work is developing a 3D application through time of the city of Rome for presentation to the public on CD-ROMs and Internet. These new projects began by the end of March and were completed in September 1999.