Kanjampa Bureepakdee at the Natural History Museum, London

kanjampa-bureepakdee-natural_history_museum_london_cocoon“My internship with the Interpretation and Design Department at the Natural History Museum, London, ranged from straightforward tasks to real challenges. I conducted an audit of the Museum’s permanent galleries’ content, visiting and recording all the topics covered there—a simple yet gigantic task. A more ‘front-end’ task was to evaluate a temporary blockbuster exhibition, ‘Animal Inside Out’, to find out whether the intended visitor goals were met. I interviewed 100 visitors after their visit to the exhibition. The most challenging task was labeling the plant and insect specimens in the spectacular cases that span two floors of the new Cocoon building in the Darwin Centre. Designed as a visual feast, there were no labels (or records) to identify the specimens inside these cases. However some visitors wanted to be able to identify the individual specimens. The task of completing a key to label the specimens meant enlisting the help of scientists from various departments. I was fascinated by the way the specimen identification task touched upon so many aspects of museology: display practice, the public, and the museum professionals. I used this task as the point of departure for my research thesis on the heritage dynamics of contemporary natural history museums. I was given a lot of responsibility and freedom during my internship. Whilst I had to come up with my own strategies to accomplish the tasks, I could always seek advice from my supervisor as well as the Interpretation team.”

(HUM Major, class of 2012 ½)