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Chris, Gallery Assistant

Chris, Gallery Assistant

Chris, Gallery Assistant.
©V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum,London

As a Gallery Assistant my day always starts with a briefing, held before the Museum opens, where I am informed of events happening in the Museum that day. I am allocated a Gallery and spend the day ensuring that the objects are secure and that the visitors are safe. Meeting and talking to visitors is one of my favourite parts of my job. Although I am not an expert in the Collections I have built up a good knowledge of the different pieces we have here and can often give visitors a bit of background. I enjoy providing a friendly and welcoming environment for people to see the wonderful building and collection.

Gallery Assistants are rostered to attend training sessions one afternoon every six weeks. I really enjoy my training sessions, which cover many areas of the business, from customer care skills to evacuation training. This helps me be the best I can be on the galleries and gives me confidence to perform my duties.

As part of the Gallery Assistant role, we can be asked to work on the Sales and Information desk. This can involve queue management for popular exhibitions, ticket collecting/sales and meeting and greeting. I find the environment friendly and exciting. Sales and Information is a very different experience from the main galleries due to the tasks and skills needed, but one I enjoy.

My favourite museum object is The Great Bed of Ware mentioned in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, built by Jonas Fosbrook, possibly around 1463. One of the reasons this is my favourite object is because at some point in the bed’s history it was moved to the White Hart inn, in Ware, which is the name of my local town. I also think the bed’s ornate markings give it an amazing character.

Even after thirteen years as a Gallery Assistant at the V&A, I am still very proud to walk around the 6.5 miles of public space, and am still in awe of this historic building.