Welcome to my first blog post of 2018! I am hoping that this will be an excellent year filled with new adventures and lots of learning. The theme provided by GLAM Blog Club, what I learned in 2017 and what I want to learn in 2018, allows for both reflection and the opportunity to write down some goals. It is now time to momentarily cast mindfulness aside and obsess over the past and ponder the future. Continue reading What I Learned in 2017 & What I Want to Learn in 2018…
It has been way too long since I’ve written a post for GLAM Blog Club. This month, the theme is How I Ended Up Here. Not only does this allow for some great feelings of nostalgia, but also, time to reflect on my journey. It’s so easy to get caught up in the present or dread/fear/anticipate the future. How often do you take the time to sit down and really just remember where you started and how far you’ve come? I’m hoping that by writing this blog post, I can take the time to feel proud of what I’ve accomplished. I also hope that if you’re reading this post, you can also take some time out of your day to do the same. Continue reading How I Ended Up Here – GLAM Blog Club
Time for another GLAM Blog Club post! I am truly excited to write on the topic of ‘fear’. I’m going to tackle this topic from a variety of angles. Not just because I have many fears, but also because I work with some objects that absolute ignite fear in others. Continue reading GLAM Blog Club “Fear”
This month’s topic for GLAM Blog Club is the theme of Trust. Enjoy reading my insight into both trusting other tour guides and being a tour guide myself!
My post begins in Las Vegas, 2014. My friend and I made the decision to go on a “Las Vegas Lights Night Tour” of the city. It was a fun tour filled with anecdotal stories, suggestions on places to visit post-tour, and a little bit of history. Throughout the night I remember thinking the guide was passionate and obviously knew their city. Jump to the end of the tour. We decided to check out some of their suggestions only to find that the information they provided was either wrong or out of date. Automatically I started to question everything they said and just like that, my trust in them vanished.
Later that year I visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I was lucky enough to see the beautiful pictorial quilt by Harriet Powers on display. Even better yet, I was able to join a short talk of the quilt by a member of staff. Similar to the guide in Las Vegas, my first instinct was to trust the information they were reciting. This wasn’t because I knew the dates they were saying were correct, but rather because they were confident and really tried to keep us all engaged. I wasn’t looking for the information already on the object label. Instead, I was hoping for a story or a narrative that gave life to the object. That is what the tour guide achieved and for that, I did trust them.
On writing this post, I am beginning to see that I too easily trust people with an ID card who begin talking about things. On the other hand, I often find I’m not alone in going into these situations basically relying on what I am being told. If you type into Google tour guides + trust + Tripadvisor you will start to see what I mean. There are a lot of reviews that mention tour guides and how much knowledge they had, how engaging they were, and how they contributed to an individual’s knowledge of a place. There are even studies out there that show people are apprehensive of becoming tour guides because they are worried they won’t be trusted (link).
Until 2014, I was always a guest on a tour and never the guide. This all changed when I started taking Convict and World War II history tours in Brisbane. All of a sudden, people were listening to me and asking me questions. Before my first tour I had my head stuck in books reading everything and anything I could about the early colonial development of Brisbane and its evolution over time. It was through this that I made a little discovery of my own.
Building trust is so much more than knowing the exact date of everything that happened. In fact, to me that would be impossible considering there can be a lack of evidence etc. I have been on so many tours where the guide has estimated dates or provided a time frame and this has never left me thinking they knew nothing. Going back to my discovery, I decided that if I was going to get a group of people to trust me, I had to be engaging and I had to capture and hold their attention from the first sentence to the last. In my mind, trust comes from balancing sharing the evidence available with reading the dynamics of a group. I learned very quickly in the role that if you want a group of people to stay with you and, dare I say it, even grow to trust you, you should deviate from a rigid script.
There are, of course, so many problems that arise with issues of trust and tour guiding. I had two hours to communicate basically the entire history of Brisbane from convict settlement to modern day. On Cockatoo Island, I have even less time to communicate even more information. So then do people trust you’ve selected the most interesting stories or the most relevant “truths”? Your own agenda will ultimately play a huge role in how you deliver a tour. To build some trust, I make my biases clear from the beginning stating what I am going to focus on and how these particular stories work together to create a specific perspective. What I also tend to do is use the material evidence around me as evidence. Even then, it is a huge ask for people to trust what I say.
So why do I care if people trust me or not when I’m guiding them around? The answer is simple – I want people to stay engaged. I love talking about history because I think it’s interesting and I want other people to think it’s interesting as well.
The definition of trust encompasses reliability, truth, or ability. In other words, when you’re a tour guide there is so much more to gaining trust than simply knowing a heap of “facts”. It is a constantly challenging role that does test your ability to engage others and communicate history. Becoming a heritage guide is also, however, one of the best decisions I have ever made.
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts in the comments. Have you been on a tour when you’ve “trusted” the guide? Why?
This is my first blog post for the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) Blog Club! I am so excited to be a member of this initiative. Once a month I will be writing an entry that relates to a specific theme or selected topic. For January the themes are:
“What I learned in 2016” OR “What I want to learn in 2017”
I selected the latter because I think I have already spoken at length about what I learned in 2016. Above all else, I learned the importance of being proactive and actively seeking opportunities.
There is so much I want to learn in 2017.
The following is my wishlist:
1. Learn more about archival practices
Whilst I have been working and volunteering in archives for the past six months, I hope that 2017 will be a year of refining my skills and learning new practices. As part of this, I have finally made the decision to study a Graduate Diploma in Records Management and Archives through Curtin University. I cannot wait to combine my practical experience with some theory. Yes, this does mean another year of non-stop assignments, but, I am looking forward to delving deeper into the world of archives.
2. Learn more from short courses and workshops
One thing that I really want to do this year is be involved in more workshops and short courses. For example, I would love to take a basic textile preservation course offered by Preservation Australia:
These seem like a great way to keep up-to-date with current standards and reinforce what is best practice. I am most interested in learning some basic conservation principles. Especially those related to textiles and paper.
3. Learn how to write an impressive grant proposal
I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to writing grants. Whilst I have an understanding of how to write a grant proposal, I am hoping to learn some tips and tricks to improve the quality of my proposals. Here’s hoping by the end of the year I am more confident in my writing abilities!
It will be very interesting to review these three goals at the end of the year and compare what I learnt to what I was hoping to learn. I am sure as the year continues there will be many more goals to add to the list. It does, however, feel good to write something down and have this post to reflect on as the year unfolds.