We are all very excited to welcome back Louisa Knight to MoDA. Louisa has rejoined the staff at MoDA as our new Assistant Curator, covering for Maggie who has just started her maternity leave. As Louisa will be dealing directly with visitors to the Study Room I thought it would be useful if you knew something both about Louisa's museum background and the actual post of Assistant Curator at MoDA. So with this in mind, I managed to grab a quick chat with Louisa just before the Easter break:
What were you doing prior to starting at MoDA?
For the last three and a half years I have been the Project Officer at The Geffrye Museum, overseeing the Documenting the Home Project, which aims to collect testimony and images of real homes in the UK.
I am originally from New Zealand and my first job in London was actually at MoDA on a research project. I interviewed a wallpaper designer and collected testimony and photographs about London homes in the 1950s from some willing participants. It’s great to be back!
What are your main duties at MoDA?My main job is facilitating access to MoDA’s collections for students and researchers. I’ll be busying myself between the study room and store, getting out relevant material to suit our visitors’ specific areas of interest. If you would like to make a booking to visit the study room, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
My other key responsibility will be collection management. That basically means I will be doing lots of housekeeping: checking objects are where they should be and that they are well documented. This will in time make the collection more accessible for the public.
What are you looking forward to most during your time at MoDA?
It’s a pleasure to become part of MoDA’s team once again. As well as the great people, I have fond memories of MoDA’s collection and I’m looking forward to rediscovering the gems hidden in the stores. I was here during the 2008 exhibition ‘Designer Style: Home Decorating in the 1950s’, which showcased a range of contemporary design wallpapers, including a personal favourite of mine: ‘Frivolite’ by Mary Storr. This fun 1950s design of a Parisian cafe scene is one of several in the collection by Storr, who designed for John Lines and Crown Wallpaper in the 1940s and 1950s. It’s great to come back to MoDA at a time when similar 1950s designs are being researched and catalogued in preparation for the upcoming 'Sonic Wallpaper' exhibition.
What do you think will be the main challenges that you will face?
I hope people will be patient with me as I get up to speed and familiarise myself with where everything is. Probably one of the biggest challenges is going to be getting to grips with 19th century objects at MoDA as I have, for the most part, been specialising in 20th century history collections.
What and how much do you think that you will achieve?
Soon, MoDA’s new website will be launched and the collection database will be accessible via the site. By the time I finish at MoDA at the end of September, I hope to have updated the database so the public can browse full lists of the Museum’s magazine and journal collection. I hope to have also straightened out any objects with anomalous locations.
What do you intend to do once you have finished your time at MoDA?
I hope to continue working in London museums, with 20th century social history collections.