Meet Hannah Fawcett, our new Lead Visitor Assistant #BowesStaff

Hello, I’m Hannah Fawcett, currently Lead Visitor Assistant at The Bowes Museum.

I found my way in to the The Bowes Museum through their Creative Apprenticeship role.

In 2016, I left Sunderland University with an art degree under my hat, wondering where my life in the art world would go next. I knew I wanted to work somewhere with the creative sector, but was unsure how to do it. With the passion and determination, I was just missing experiences within the real working world.

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Hannah Fawcett at the beginning of her Creative Apprenticeship role. Photo by: Claire Collinson

Being the creative apprentice allowed me to work across all departments within the museum, picking up endless experience and tips everyone had to offer me. Whilst doing this I was also studying at Gateshead College at Sage Gateshead, once a month to gain my level 2 & 3 qualifications in ‘Cultural Venue Operations’.

Some of my favourite opportunities were working with the Marketing team around the Christmas Market and aiding our Archivist, Judith Phillips, on the  WW1 Project’s Social Media in sharing stories and events. Another very important opportunity whilst in my Creative Apprenticeship role, was working with the exhibitions team, even if it was for a few weeks. I got to help with decision making and the installation of the current New Light Prize Exhibition 2017/18. The Exhibition Manager, George Harris and the Exhibition Officer, Vin Shawcross took me under their wings and I learned so much. From picking the paint colour, working with the New Light team, ordering and installing vinyl, how to choose the right Drill Bit and to the placement of the chosen works. We went through lots of processes from making scale models to on screen layouts. The Exhibition Team showed me the rules and best way to hang artworks within the space we had. It turned out amazing and on opening night, everyone had a great time.

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Installing New Light Art Prize Exhibition 

I was mainly based with the Front of House team, on the Reception desk. Here I was able to get right in to the workings of the museum. Part of my role, as front of house, was to be informed at all times about exhibitions and events, opening hours and admission prices and any other details, to keep visitors up to date with what was going on. I got to know all the staff really well and loved every minute of talking and interacting with the visitors. Within an interesting place like The Bowes Museum there are so many stories to share. Something I didn’t think I was very good at 2 years ago, now I think customer service is one of the best skills I have. All thanks to working within the front of house team.

The apprenticeship has set me up with so many skills, I am very excited to apply these in my new role as Lead Visitor Assistant. Working with Front of House on a daily basis with our visitors and customers as my main priority, making sure they have the best time they can within the Museum & Grounds.  I am able to learn so much more, from health and safety to maintenance of this beautiful building to all the future exciting events and exhibitions coming here. I’m very much looking forward to what the future holds, but I’ve got some big shoes to fill.

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