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I recently embarked on a one month QEST and Zibby Garnett Travelling Fellowship sponsored internship at Teylers Museum, Netherlands. I was very interested to intern within a museum that performed a lot of exhibition conservation work due to my previous experience within the curatorial sector. I was welcomed to join the team during the month of September and was thrilled to learn that I would be undertaking research into charcoal and pastel drawings by the artist, Blanche Douglas Hamilton, as well as helping with a new acquisitions exhibition and upcoming major exhibition, At first sight.

I worked under the guidance of head paper conservator, Robien van Gulik at the conservation studio, which is within the museum complex in Haarlem. The museum is the oldest in the Netherlands and was founded by Pieter Teyler van der Hulst in 1784. Dedicated to scientific artefacts, books, and works of art, the museum displays an eclectic collection of fossils, minerals, scientific instruments, medals, coins, drawings, and paintings. Teylers Museum is most famous for its extensive collection of old master’s prints and drawings, including 25 works by Michelangelo – among them preliminary studies for the frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and important works by Raphael, Guercino, and Claude Lorrain. Similarly, the museum contains nearly the complete graphic works of Rembrandt and Adriaen van Ostade.  The museum itself is mostly lit by daylight, which evokes the atmosphere of a distant past when the exhibition rooms would have to close early on a dark winters afternoon because visitors could no longer see the artworks on display! Today the exhibition rooms have some external lighting for such occasions, however the conservation staff undertake weekly environmental monitoring to keep an eye on the temperature and humidity caused by the uncontrollable natural lighting and heat that penetrates through the glass skylights. The museum has seven exhibition rooms; the oldest part of the museum is the Oval Room, which was designed to accommodate all parts of the collection. However the more modern wings, which contain temporary exhibitions, are still very much in keeping with the older parts of the museum.

My internship at Teylers Museum allowed me to gain further experience of mounting and exhibition conservation. For a more detailed account please look over my conservation portfolio or read my report here.

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The Telling Stories: project was started in 2011, and is directed and curated by Cathryn Kemp. The exhibitions, and related events and performances, showcase exciting commissions by multi-disciplinary artists from Hastings and Margate in a form of creative and cultural exchange. Telling Stories: aims to bring contemporary art to the coastal communities, both of which are undergoing regeneration led by the arts, and by doing so develop into a touring project creating cultural partnerships across Kent, Sussex and the South East.

Telling Stories: Hastings is the second curated exhibition. The first was Telling Stories: Margate 2011 at Marine Studios. Both exhibitions involve artists whose practice is strongly linked with either town.

Telling Stories: Hastings is currently at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, running from 22 September, 2012, to 13 January, 2013. The practitioners have developed new works under the umbrella concept of ‘telling stories’ in a bid to engage wide audiences and broach the intellectual and metaphysical space between artist, viewer and art object. The artists share their stories in the hope that the viewer immerses into the storytelling with their own narrative interplay.

The Tale of Mr Ferguson and Dorothea: A Walking Tour

Mark Dumbrell in collaboration with Samantha Cawson

Concerned with the notions of community engagement, still life performance, fictional histories and story telling a narrated walking tour around Hastings has been put into place. On five occasions Mr A. Ferguson has altered Dorothea’s life and this is a project of their story. Follow the directions of artist and collector, Samantha Cawson and MargatePhotoFest Director, Mark Dumbrell to uncover and materialise the plot and characters. A most curious tale indeed!

Download the Mr Ferguson Trail Booklet