Innovative audio project places security staff in curator’s shoes for museum and gallery tours

Article: David Styles | Image: © Kettle's Yard

A collaboration between arts organisation Metal and artist Eloise Moody has yielded a new digital project designed to give the public a unique tour of six UK museums and galleries.

Each episode of The Caretakers, a week-long series of behind-the-scenes explorations, will focus on one object at an institution – selected by a member of the security or maintenance teams.

The project is designed to reconnect the public with items they have been deprived of during lockdown while also giving a voice to workers whose knowledge of museum collections and cultural buildings often goes unheard.

People's City gallery and Selfridge's lifts © Museum of London

“While security and caretaking staff are the only people allowed inside our national museums and galleries, The Caretakers allows us to perch invisibly on their shoulders, seeing what takes their interest and noticing what they stop to consider. We are granted a personal tour offering fresh perspectives on suspended collections,” notes Eloise Moody, the architect of this antidote to traditional curator-led tours.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Kettle’s Yard, Museum of London, Royal Museums Greenwich, Pitt Rivers Museum and Southend Museums are the six venues chosen to participate in the project led by Metal, an Arts Council funded organisation with bases in Liverpool, Peterborough and Southend.

“One of Metal’s chief aims is to support  artists in strengthening their practice and amplifying their voices. 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,” explains Andrea Cunningham, Assistant Director at Metal Southend.

Each episode of The Caretakers can be found via @caretakertales on Twitter