The Science Museum is one of the nation’s most popular visitor attractions and is full of galleries where people can learn about science and engineering through interactive exhibits. But behind each exhibit is a hard-working Gallery Technician.
Paul’s specialism is the electro-mechanical side of the exhibits in the museum. That means he could be doing anything from fixing a robot arm at his bench or thinking of how to build new activities on gallery, to updating older exhibits or creating new mounts for museum artefacts.
“You’ve got to know almost everything about everything to work in these galleries. But the beauty is that if you don’t know it, someone else in the team will, and no one keeps things to themselves -everyone shares ideas and that’s how we come up with some of the more unusual exhibits!”
“We’ve got lots of exhibits on gallery that constantly need maintenance because their popularity means they break more often. That needs a lot of creative thought – you have to think about how you can make something robust while still being able to maintain its aesthetics. We also get asked to make new interactives which is a very creative process.”
Paul hasn’t always worked at museums – he previously worked for ten years at the industrial engineering company JCB before deciding he wanted to do something new. His time at the Science Museum has made him realise that it is not the title that makes a job interesting or satisfying – it’s what you actually get to do.
“It’s funny because when I saw the job here, and it said technician, my first thought was ‘I’ve been an engineer at JCB, people might think why is he taking a step down?’ Whereas, I think now, if you look around our workshop at the amount of skill, ability and knowledge people have, it’s definitely up there alongside an industrial engineering environment.”
“If I was still at JCB and I was asked ‘what do you want to do in 10 years’ time’ I would have said I’d be a Senior Engineer, but these past 12 months have shown me there is so much more to what I can do. Now I want to stay in a creative and technical workshop, rather than having a desk-based engineering job.”
Paul's career pathway
- 2007 Completed a BTEC in Mechanical Engineering and began a three-year Advanced Mechanical Engineering apprenticeship with JCB, which included a year in college
- 2010 Completed his apprenticeship at JCB, gained a HNC and joined JCB’s Development Workshop as a Development Engineer
- 2017 Left JCB to travel around the world for a year
- 2018 Joined the Science Museum as a Gallery Technician