31 July 2020
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) is part of a new six-part audio series, offering the public a rare glimpse into life of museum and gallery security staff maintaining buildings and collections during lockdown.
Delivered by contemporary artist Eloise Moody and supported by arts organisation Metal – The Caretakers episodes have been broadcast via social media.
Behind-the-scenes recordings at BMAG, created by museum manager Gurminder Kenth, is available via https://twitter.com/caretakertales
Eloise Moody conceived the idea for The Caretakers as a way to give a voice to workers whose knowledge of museum collections and cultural buildings often goes unheard.
Each episode centres on one object, chosen and narrated by a member of a security or maintenance team.
In the BMAG recording, Gurminder reflects on a very different experience of being in the museum while it’s closed to the public, focusing on the Round Room where a sculpture of Lucifer by Sir Jacob Epstein dominates the space.
Gurminder said: “It was a brilliant experience to be part of this project and give listeners an insight into how my role has changed during this unique time. Working in the museum without colleagues and visitors has given me a completely different perspective of the collection and the building.
“And while we can’t wait to see the museum buzzing with people once again in the future, I’m so pleased we can share this rare glimpse of the museum with listeners.”
Eloise Moody, project curator, said: “With the closure of museums and arts organisations throughout the country, the people with access to the nation’s cultural treasures are security and caretaking teams. At a time when previously overlooked workers are recognised as essential, The Caretakers extends this re-framing of importance and reliance to the cultural sector.”
Pictured: The Lucifer sculpture at Birmingham Museum