Julien Parsons, Senior Collections Officer (Content Management Lead)
I manage RAMM’s team of Curators and Assistant Curators, Exhibitions Officer, Digital Media Officer, Collections and Audiences Assistant, and freelance and project staff as appropriate. The post demands managing the collections and making them accessible through interpretation projects – which might be new displays, publications and digital products – as well as overseeing the curation of new exhibitions and incoming touring shows. I chair RAMM’s regular programming team meetings.
Recent major projects include the Collections Review (2011-13) which has informed the museum’s Collection Development Policy (2014-19) and West Country to World’s End: the South West in the Tudor Age which ran in the galleries from 26 October 2013 to 2 March 2014 and was accompanied by a published catalogue. Currently I am working with colleagues on exploring how contemporary artists can reflect on and respond to our collections.
I deal with enquiries concerning the overall strategic approach to collections, but not on the specifics of individual artefacts and specimens which should be directed to the appropriate curator. Expressions of interest in staging exhibitions at RAMM should be directed to the Exhibitions Officer. I am interested to hear from organizations wanting to develop partnerships focused on the collections and their associated information.
Phone: 01392 265085
Address: Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3RX
My first degree was in Archaeology (University of York, 1998) and I have a postgraduate diploma in Scientific methods in Archeology (University of Bradford, 1990). My first museum post was at Birmingham Museum as a collections’ inventory assistant and subsequently I became Keeper of Archaeology and Ethnography at Sheffield City Museum, leaving in 1997 to a similar post at Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum.
During this period I took an MA in Museum Studies (University of Leicester, 1996) and subsequently studied for a PhD (University of Birmingham, 2004) on 19th-century excavations on England’s prehistoric barrows and tombs. I maintain an interest in the archaeologists, antiquaries and collectors of the Victorian period and continue to research and write on these topics.
I moved to Exeter in 2004, initially as RAMM’s Curator of Antiquities; the following year I took on the role of Senior Collections Officer. From 2007–11 I was the museum’s lead for the exhibition fit-out at RAMM with responsibility for the collections’ redisplay, interpretation and interactives.
I have been an associate of the Museums Association (AMA) since 1998.
Current and past projects
- Winners of the Collections Trust Best Practice Award at Open Culture 2013
- The Guardian – How to Become a Museum Curator
- British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography
- Parsons, J. (forthcoming) ‘Capturing the essence: a client’s reflections on surviving the Value Engineering of a museum redevelopment project’, Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship
- Parsons, J. 2012, ‘Crossing the threshold: recovery, selection and curation practices of nineteenth century barrow diggers’, in J.R. Trigg (ed) Of Things Gone but not Forgotten. Essays in archaeology for Joan Taylor. British Archaeological Report, International Series – 2434.
- Parsons, J. 2007, ‘The Rage to Rake in Dust and Ashes: A Socio-economic Context for the Excavation of Prehistoric Barrows in the Nineteenth Century’, Archaeological Journal, vol.163, 200-230.
- Parsons, J. 2006, ‘The exploration of the soil is a voyage in time: Victorian participation in the excavation of Gloucestershire’s prehistoric burial mounds’, in R. Pearson (ed) The Victorians and the Ancient World: Archaeology and Classicism in Nineteenth-Century Culture (Cambridge Scholars Press: Newcastle), 93-108.
- Parsons, J. 2002, Great Sites: Belas Knap, British Archaeology, Issue 63 (February 2002), 18-23.