Six museums and galleries across England have joined The Caretakers Project, a new six-part audio series celebrating the essential work of security and maintenance staff during lockdown.
Developed by artist Eloise Moody and supported by arts organisation Metal, the project offers a rare look at the staff maintaining buildings and collections amid the coronavirus crisis.
The six museums and galleries participating are Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Kettle’s Yard, Museum of London, Royal Museums Greenwich, Pitt Rivers Museum, and Southend Museums.
The Caretakers will provide a sneak peek at museum collections. Each episode is a reimagined take on the traditional curator-led format and focuses on one object chosen and narrated by a member of a security or maintenance team.
Project developed by artist Eloise Moody
“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,” said Moody.
“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.”
“While security and caretaking staff are the only people allowed inside our national museums and galleries, The Caretakers allow us to perch invisibly on their shoulders, seeing what takes their interest and noticing what they stop to consider,” she continued.
“We are granted a personal tour offering fresh perspectives on suspended collections.”
Maintaining buildings and collections amid COVID-19
Listeners are encouraged to create and submit their own creative responses to the objects to @caretakertales, ultimately building an online gallery of reimagined art by the public.
Andrea Cunningham, assistant director at Metal Southend, added: “The Caretakers Project, conceived by artist Eloise Moody, is a powerful opportunity to amplify those marginalised voices working in the cultural sector in a beautiful and intriguing way at a moment in history that is reframing all our thinking.”
Similarly, the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City previously enlisted the help of security guard Tim Tiller during the attraction’s closure over COVID-19.