Interview with Janene

We were asked by Iziko to create a collaborative final project documenting our time in the museums to present on our last day of work. After a long conversation about it, we decided that we wanted to represent in some way the idea that youth can have a career in museums. Throughout our time here, we have noticed that many young people don’t realize this and don’t have access to knowing about careers in museums. We plan to create a booklet with different departments in Iziko highlighted for young people to read about.

Although Bradley is technically Hannah and I’s supervisor, Janene is very much involved in the work we do and spends a lot of time showing us the ropes and working with us. I chose to interview her about her career and this is what she had to say.

Alexa: How did you get this job?

Janene: I started in the museum in 2006 as a museum attendant, and um the year after I had interest—I started at the house museum, so I started housekeeping, cleaning in the museum, and then I was interested in the objects on open display. So whenever the conservator would pop around and do checks, I would ask her about conservation and more about the housekeeping inside the museum. And then there was a position advertised at the Social History Center which would take care of the objects on display, furniture, ceramics, textiles, and I applied for the position, and in 2009, February, I started at the Social History Center, under the supervision of the conservator, as a conservation assistant, and the year after I got a promotion as an assistant conservator after about 2 to 3 years in the conservation assistant position. And that’s still hands on training from the conservators, as my supervisors, both Fatima and Bradley.

Alexa: What’s your favorite part of your job?

Janene: Everything! Everything about my job. I just love everything.

Alexa: What’s your advice for young people who want to become conservators?

Janene: Firstly, you have to have some scientific, chemical/chemistry background, it’s very important in the job. You should have the passion of taking care of museum collections and not just use it as another job.

Alexa: What would you like to be doing 5 to 10 years from now?

Janene: Be the head conservator at Iziko Museums!

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Rolling textiles and writing conditions reports