Discovery zone

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Are you good at getting all different types of people to work together and enjoy public speaking? if so this could be your job

What does a Director do?

A Director is hired by a board of trustees and is in charge of running a museum or art gallery making sure it runs smoothly. Finances, staff, general operations and future development are areas a director will be in charge of, they also usually have the overall say in the exhibition programme of an art gallery. A Director is great at public speaking as they are the main representative for the museum.

What Skills does a Director need?

Enjoy working with the public and good at working with people

Problem solver

Managerial skill and business knowledge

Good decision making

Comfortable at public speaking

Ability to juggle schedule

How do you become a Director?

Becoming a Director can be a long journey, most Directors will have lots of experience and not necessarily in the art/museum field, for example business may be one area of experience.  Most have a degree and will start off beginning their career in lower level positions and progress through.

Our Director, Simon Trapnell

My name is Simon and I’m director of Nature in Art. I was involved in setting up the museum and have worked here since Princess Alexandra officially opened it in 1988. Nature in Art is my life!

My job is extremely varied.  I have to know something about everything that goes on at the museum. Probably the most rewarding part of my job is planning the changes to our displays and arranging our busy programme of special exhibitions, assembling all the exhibits for each one, often from other collections in the UK and sometimes from abroad. I also head up the actual hanging of the exhibitions and displaying the items, but it is far too big a job for one person, so other people who work at Nature in Art help and there are a great team of expert volunteers who also lend a hand. I also arrange our artist in residence programme. Did you know over 60 artists come to Nature in Art every year (each for a week) to demonstrate their skills? I think it’s one of the most exciting things that visitors can see when they visit.

Although there are also many things I have to do in the office on a day to day basis, and meetings that I have to go to with colleagues from other museums for example, I always make time to meet members of the public when they visit. People always have interesting things to say and can help us develop new ideas for projects in the future. I also enjoy going out from the museum to talk to groups about the subject of nature in art. Most years I give over 40 talks, often in the evenings, and it’s great to see some of those people visit the museum at a later date. Because Nature in Art is growing I have to spend part of my time working on our exciting plans for future development. Being director is not just about coping with today, but getting ready for the future as well. I work with a fantastic group of people who all work really hard and love Nature in Art as much as I do, so it means I am one of those lucky people who can’t wait to go to work each morning!

One visitor recently said to me that they liked Nature in Art because ‘it was always the same and always different!’. I think that describes my job rather well too!

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