Ed Rutherford – Curator of Social History
How long have you been working at the Tullie?
I have been working at Tullie for 7 years and 11 months.
Talk us through your average working day.
There is no average working day in my role as a Curator. I am consistently working on a diverse number of projects including managing, researching and developing a collection of 16,000 objects and 9,000 images, planning content and producing interpretation for temporary and permanent displays, delivering presentations and assisting the public with historic enquiries.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is undertaking the historic research of collections and producing the interpretation that will bring these objects to life. I enjoy creating subsets of objects that will form the basis of an exhibition and then establishing a display project that integrates social history collections with the other disciplines of the museum. Using a range of different techniques to engage the public with history including sound and moving film are all part of this creative and rewarding process.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Every exhibition project presents new challenges. It might involve solving a practical problem during a display installation or considering the ethical questions around interpretation of a controversial subject. In my role as a project manager I work with my colleagues to overcome these hurdles and move forward. Historical enquiries can also present challenges as they vary enormously in scope.
Do you have a favourite spot in Tullie House?
My favourite spot has to be the museums stores. This is where I can work with the collections and prepare engagement projects with the public. I do love the Victorian Clock Tower on Castle Street which I walk under every day on my way to work.
What is your best Tullie House memory or experience?
I have many fond memories of Tullie House. Curating Carlisle Life in 2007 was a brilliant experience as a museum professional. Developing and Curating Reivers in 2011was long term ambition that I turned into reality. Other highlights have included holding the oldest surviving FA Cup in 2010 and handling Charles Edward Stuarts Diamond ring in 2012. Georgian Carlisle was a pleasure to curate and received a wonderful reception from the Carlisle public. Receiving my AMA from the Museums Association and being selected in Carlisle Living’s top 100 influential people was also a good autumn in 2013.
Outside of Tullie House, what is your favourite thing to do/favourite place in Cumbria?
I enjoy spending time with my family and going on day trips around North Cumbria/Scottish Borders and Northumberland. Carlisle has much to offer and has superb parks, interesting architecture and a real sense of place.
Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing a career in a museum?
A career in museums is very rewarding and is all about public service. If you are passionate about history, nature or art and want to work in a museum – get some voluntary experience. There are also several courses in Museum/Gallery Studies and heritage management that are worth considering.
Describe Tullie House in five words.
Informative, Collections, Inspirational, People, Community