Working as a Collections Assistant at the Charterhouse

Hi, my name is Jack, and I am the Collections Assistant volunteer at the Charterhouse. I have been with the museum for almost two years; during my MA course in Museum Studies, I applied for a placement there, although this had to be postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. What started off as working from home and learning the ropes of collections management and their role in the museum world has transitioned into actively handling some of the institution’s seven-hundred year old collections, nominating some for display in the museum, or finding old and interesting everyday objects, e.g. books and objects, either used by the brothers or former pupils, some of which have been improperly stored!

Currently, I am working alongside the Museum Manager to improve access to our collections, and make them more accessible to the community at large. For example, I am documenting a series of photographs of the Charterhouse, that appear to be part of the Conway Library at the Courtauld Institute. Whilst most of these are fairly recent (dating back to the 1990s), there has been one photo that has caught my eye. It shows Chapel Court and the Cloister (now part of the entrance to the museum), and is a very rare document of pre-war Charterhouse, before the extensive bombing destroyed much of the site. Where the offices now stand, it appears that it was used as accomodation by the brothers, and shows us that long before the opening of the museum, it was (and still is) an active almshouse inhabited by a diverse mix of people from all walks of life. I wonder who inhabited these rooms that you see, and what stories they had to tell?