5 minutes with… Stuart McKie

Written by Alison Hilton, MERL Marketing Officer

This week I have managed to catch Stuart McKie,  our Admin and Operations Assistant, on a rare moment when he’s not running around the museum preparing for an event or showing visitors round. Stuart has only been in this particular role for two months, but he’s been involved with MERL for over two years, first as a volunteer tour guide, then assisting in the archives, followed by 6 months as an assistant volunteer coordinator.

His current role sees him assisting in every facet of the museum –from guided tours, visitor services, corporate hire to collections care – you name it, he seems to have a hand in it!

Stuart (left) sorting crockery donated by the public for MERL's Village Fete last year.
Stuart (left) sorting crockery donated by the public for MERL’s Village Fete last year.

What are you working on this week?

I am mostly working on getting ready for the MERL Village Fete, which is a week this Saturday. The fete is our biggest event of the year, and organising it takes months of preparation and planning. As the Museum’s general assistant, I am doing anything from making badges for staff and volunteers, to working out how many tables a beekeeper might need!

On top of this come my usual weekly tasks of sorting out daily admin things, ensuring the museum and garden are clean and tidy, and looking after visitors and staff. This week in particular, I have been helping with putting a new exhibition by Jenny Halstead up in the Studio, which looks fantastic.

Probably the best thing about this job is that every day I get to see new people discover this museum, and the incredible objects we have on display. We have something for everyone, and the fun part for me is taking them around the museum, and bringing out the parts that different people can relate to.

How are you involved in the Our Country Lives project?

With the Our Country Lives project, we are aiming to look again at how we bring this collection to life, and really get people involved in the stories our objects can tell. In my positions as a tour guide and on the front desk, I am helping to get more information from our visitors about what they think about MERL, how they find us, and why they come.

I am also helping the curators and conservator in assessing how the new displays will work. This week we measured up one of our wall hangings from the 1951 Festival of Britain, in the hope that we can get it out of storage and into the gallery once the museum is redesigned. It’s an exciting time to be part of MERL, and I can’t wait to see how the project pans out!

Measuring up the 1951 wall hangings
Measuring up the 1951 wall hangings

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