Ask-a-Curator 2014: An interesting selection of most unusual objects!

September 19, 2014

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If you love museums and you love social media, then you will have loved this year’s Ask-a-Curator earlier in the week – the biggest Q&A session with museums worldwide, via Twitter (if you’re hearing about it for the first time, I wrote a bit more about what Ask-a-Curator actually is in a previous post). This was the first time in three years that I wasn’t actually working or tweeting for a museum during Ask-a-Curator. Previously, I had only been able to join in with my own questions in the evenings, meaning that my questions were mostly directed at museums in the Americas as the European museums were already offline by the time I finished work. But this year I had a whole day ahead of me – and what better way to spend it when stuck at home with builders tearing down your walls – and decided to focus on European museums this year.

As I did last year, I decided to ask the same 3 questions of different museums, so I picked 20 museums from the list of participants including some old favourites, and others that just sounded interesting. The countries I ended up with were: Austria, Belgium, Catalonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales. The Migration Museum in Australia was then also added to the list, after responding to my tweeting asking ‘who to pick?’, bringing the total up to 21. At the end, I also threw the questions wide open to any museum that wanted to answer, and a few more responses came in that way.

Question 1: What is the most unusual object in your collection?

A total of 41 museums answered this question. Here are my three favourite responses:

Also, this one made me laugh:

You can find a short summary of all answers to question 1 on Storify.

Question 2: If there was a fire & you could save just one object, what would it be?

A total of 25 museums answered this question. Here are my three favourite responses:

And then this tweet made me feel bad I’d asked the question – luckily there was a good outcome!

You can find a short summary of all answers to question 2 on Storify.

Question 3: What exhibition have you always wanted to curate but never had the chance?

A total of 13 museums answered this question. Here are my three favourite responses:

You can find a short summary of all answers to question 3 on Storify.

For those of you who like statistics, of the 21 museums targeted directly, 11 museums answered all three questions, 7 answered two questions and one museum answered one question. Only two museums did not respond to my questions at all. In total, I received answers from 46 different museums, including 27 who responded to my open questions.

You can find a full transcript of all answers to my questions, including follow up questions and discussions, on Storify.

Have a great weekend everyone, and happy museum-ing!

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