My name is Russell Dornan and I started as the Natural History Project Co-ordinator at the Horniman Museum in September 2012.
As soon as I saw Jurassic Park (20 years ago!) I knew “that’s” what I wanted to do. My love of dinosaurs since evolved to include the full diversity natural history has to offer and I went on to study zoology at university. Upon graduating, I spent time in Africa (to conduct a primate research project) before moving to London where I worked at the Natural History Museum: in the bookshop. I also volunteered behind the scenes in the science departments; first palaeontology, then zoology. That’s when I realised the museum sector is where I wanted to be.
After a year-long break in Canada, I returned to the UK for the biology curatorial traineeship with Herefordshire Museum Service (as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future scheme).
I completed the initial 12 month traineeship and gained fantastic experience in various areas of curatorial duties and was able to travel across the UK and as far as Berlin to visit museums and attend excellent training opportunities. I was kept on at the end of my traineeship as Assistant Documentation Officer to sort out the documentation of the geology collection.
I blogged throughout my traineeship so that people could see all the fascinating things I was privileged to see. I think it’s an invaluable tool for sharing information, providing access to collections and finding new audiences. Similarly, I set up a social media presence at the museum in Hereford, engaging with the community in a new way and providing the museum service with an informal and approachable way of speaking to its fans.
My role at the Horniman allowed me to combine my love of social media, my natural history knowledge and my curatorial and documentation experience; at one of my favourite museums in London too. That led to my job at Wellcome Collection as the Web Editor where I stepped fully into the Digital world of museums. It was an amazing job with great people and still pine for it. But I needed to get out of London. At the moment I’m at V&A Dundee doing digital bits and bobs there.