Extra sparkle added to Barrhead Centennial Museum
Summer 'curator' giving people more reasons to visit tourist attraction
You are passionate about history, you love repairing old artifacts, you like dealing with people. What better job than working in a museum?
It is a question that Sheldon King has no trouble answering. Surrounded by reminders of Barrhead’s rich past, he comes across as a young man who has found a home from home at the town’s centennial museum.
This summer King has started another stint at the museum as a STEP (summer temporary employment program) student, acting as a curator, which includes the role of tour guide. It is an open brief.
“I love working here,” he says. “I pretty much make up my own schedule each day.”
As the museum’s only employee, he has already made a big difference in a few weeks. The building looks a lot cleaner and neater. Some artifacts have been moved to make displays more coherent; thought has gone into positioning them in the most striking, interesting and appropriate spots.
King has also put his DIY skills to use, repairing three gramophones and seven clocks dating back to the 1800s. They can be seen near the entrance where visitors are invited to sign a book and make a contribution.
“I have always loved tinkering with things, ever since I was a child,” he says.
King has a personal attachment to one of the displays – a moose’s head, a trophy from his grandpa’s hunting days. Killed in 1969, the moose is called “rigormortis.”
Last year, King displayed the head near one of the museum’s centrepiece attractions – a 28-piece collection of African animal trophies and skins donated by the family of Barrhead resident Albert Werner. They include such creatures as water buck, a python, a kudu, a zebra, sables and nyala, which were hunted in Mozambique in August, 1973.
This summer the museum has had even more reasons to be looking near its best.
The Diamond Jubilee celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne has created a mood of nostalgia and reflection. For Seniors Day on June 7 the museum unveiled a special display of 1952 memorabilia, such as antique plates and mugs, a tin with the young face of Queen Elizabeth on the lid, and several photographs.
Nobility recently touched King’s life in another, more frivolous way, compelling strict observers of protocol to address him as Lord Sheldon King of Sealand.
He acquired his new title for the princely – or should that be lordly? – sum of $60. After shopping around on a student’s budget, he chose Sealand, a 6,000 square foot principality on HM Fort Roughs, a former World War Two sea fort in the North Sea off the coast of Suffolk, England. Founded in 1967, it is described as a micronation, although it is not officially recognized by any established sovereign state.
Why Sealand? It was the cheapest title Sheldon could find. He now has a seal-bearing document authenticated by Prince Regent Michael of Sealand.
“It is something I can hang on the wall,” laughs Sheldon.
As he pursues future projects, Sheldon’s title is unlikely to open as many doors as his appetite for learning.
Sheldon would like to take a Master’s Degree, then a doctorate. He also has dreams of being a substitute teacher while working fulltime at the museum in the summer, part-time in the winter.
Before then, however, he has plenty of work to do this summer. July 25 is the next big day in his calendar: Children’s Day at the Museum, which promises another big influx of visitors.
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.