Visitor Profile October 2018

Meet Kim, a Grainger Museum volunteer. Here Kim talks about her experiences of the role, her own background and her favourite object on display in the Museum.

How did you hear about the Museum?

I first learnt about the Grainger Museum and Percy Grainger’s penchant for collecting everything in his (and his mother’s) life when I was an art history under grad here at the University of Melbourne. I’ve always been interested in collectors and the psychology of collecting; what makes someone want to keep, itemise and preserve nearly every material object in their life (right down to their back-hair in Percy’s case)!?

Why did you want to volunteer at the Grainger Museum?

To answer the back-hair question! No, in all seriousness, I am keen to pursue a career in the arts and museum sector and view this as an opportunity to expand and extend my knowledge and experience in this area.

What did you expect volunteering at the Grainger Museum would be like?

I expected to meet a bunch of new people from a diverse range of backgrounds all brought together by a shared interest in Grainger, museums and collections management. I also expected to learn a whole lot about an area of history I didn’t know a huge amount about and to gain experience working in a museum. All of which I have!

What has been the most surprising aspects of volunteering at the Grainger Museum?

What a wealth of knowledge our visitors possess! We have many “Grainger Fans” come visit the Museum and they are always enlightening us with fascinating new tid-bits and stories of Grainger and his circle.

Do you have a favourite object that is currently on display at the Grainger Museum?

I love the collection of objects from Percy, Rose and Ella’s everyday lives. Many still have Percy’s original handwritten labels on them and they range from Rose’s sewing box to Percy’s last pair of slippers that were kept by Ella with all the contents of his bedside table for years after his death. They are beautifully displayed in the Museum on shelves that suggest the layout of domestic mantlepieces. These objects reflect the personal, everyday lives of the Grainger’s and capture something of Percy’s personality and obsessive collecting practices.

What do you do when you are not volunteering at the Grainger?

I am currently completing my PhD in Art History and I run a very small-scale organic cake bakery.

Many thanks to Kim for taking the time to answer our questions. If you are interested in becoming a Grainger Museum volunteer, please refer to the Volunteering information page on our website.