Inside the cocoon there are many people busy with various aspects of the museum’s redevelopment and day-to-day activity. We thought it might be nice to meet some of them. This week we talk to Kay Smith, our current Project Manager (she will sadly be leaving us in June to take retirement).
What is your role at the museum?
Project Manager for the new development of the Museum – essentially I have a supporting role to manage the whole process from applying for funding to making sure that everything gets done on time and within the budget.
What’s your favourite animal?
I love hedgehogs as they keep themselves to themselves, keep the garden clear of slugs and make the most distinctive snuffling noises as they go round the garden at night.
What’s your favourite specimen here at the museum?
The pangolin as I used to work in a museum which had on display a coat of armour made from pangolin scales. It was made in India in the 19th century and presented to George III in 1820.
What is the most enjoyable part of your working day?
My work is very variable and it is difficult to say, but I do like the time between 8 and 9 when it is quiet and I can catch up on e-mails and get myself organised
What is the most unusual job you have ever had?
Organising the moving and installation of a full-sized elephant into a new museum. There was a sudden fuss about how we would be able to get it into the new building. I got it up to the top floor, up stairs and round corners and all before lunch.
What is the most exciting thing you have ever done?
Some years ago I was part of a group which attempted to make medieval gunpowder. Firing a replica medieval cannon with our powder on an army test range on a beach in Denmark was pretty exciting – and it worked.
If you could work at any other museum in the world, which would it be?
The Musée de la Chasse (Museum of Hunting) in Paris as it is so quirky and idiosyncratic, beautifully designed and a combination of arms and armour and animals
What do you like doing in your free time?
I do loads of things – gardening, visiting castles, studying early artillery, cinema, reading and watching Game of Thrones.
If you could bring any creature back from extinction, which would it be?
The Moa bird because who wouldn’t want to see a 12 foot (3.6 m) bird weighing over 200 kg?
Do you have a role model?
My father who I worked with for over 15 years and who was always cool and calm whatever crisis was breaking out around him and who was the best armour maker in the world.
Describe what it is like working at the museum in three words.
Challenging, varied, fun