A seven-year-old boy from Twickenham got a surprise parcel in the post just before Christmas after his mother sent a photograph of a museum he set up in his spare bedroom to Brighton Museum staff.
Su Hepburn, Senior Learning Officer, was so impressed with Ronnie Reardon’s museum, called ‘Ronnie’s Museum of Antiquities’, that she and colleagues decided to put together a collection of things to help the budding curator build on his existing display.
Ronnie, who wants to be a palaeontologist or museum professional one day, was delighted with his gifts, which included a personalised curator’s badge, conservation-grade gloves for handling, object-record forms and even some fossils to add to his growing collection.
Enterprising Ronnie had impressed Su with the professionalism of his display of carefully labelled artefacts, as well as a local advertising campaign, which invited his neighbours to visit the museum after school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, for an entry price of £9.50 per person. She says: “Seeing his wonderful museum really inspired us and we could see what a professional he already is and to help nurture and encourage that love has been a joy.”
After writing to thank Su, Ronnie was invited to take part in a special behind-the-scenes tour with learning staff and curators at the end of January. His action packed day included a private tour of the Royal Pavilion and the archaeology stores, as well as time exploring all the drawers and cupboards that house the massive natural history collection at the Booth Museum on Dyke Road. Despite a packed five hour itinerary, Ronnie was begging his Mum to look around the skeleton gallery some more as the day drew to a close – a true curator in the making!
Ronnie arrived with bunches of flowers and ‘Certificates for Kindness’ for Su and Learning colleague Ellie Newland, both of whom have been invited for a return visit to Ronnie’s Museum of Antiquities in March. They hope to learn a great deal; keep your eye on the Royal Pavilion & Museums blog for an update.