Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

A personal journey

Meet the Curator – David Parkhill, Queensland Museum, 21 January 2015

Queensland Museum Assistant Collection Manager David Parkhill writes about his personal journey, from being captivated by Museums as a young boy growing up in England to arriving in Australia to peruse a livelihood as a jackaroo to finally finding his calling… a journey he describes as “a long strange trip”.

David Parkhill

David Parkhill, Queensland Museum Assistant Collection Manager.

As a young boy growing up in the early sixties in England, no trip to “the big smoke” was complete without a visit to a museum.  The primary school I attended also had a large (or so it seemed at the time) Cabinet of Curiosities that we had to pass on the way in or out of the main building.  This cabinet contained an eclectic mix of “treasures” belonging to the students and teachers alike, who both took pride in explaining to anyone who stood in front of the cabinet just what they had contributed.  Combine these early influences with a love of history it is little wonder that from a young age I thought it would be cool to work in a museum – although I didn’t know what cool was or what people did in museums.

Fast forward a few years and the boy with his nose pressed against the glass of a museum display cabinet has left high school, like so many of his peers with no qualifications, and started work as a jackaroo – the Pommy Jackaroo.

Restless in my employment I had one unfulfilling job after another.  From factory hand to bush carpenter and from trawler hand to steel rigger I was always looking for that elusive “something”.

Back in 1991, an industrial accident on a construction site set me on the path to my career at the Queensland Museum – and I haven’t looked back.

I started working for the Queensland Museum some time back in ’95 volunteering for Education Loans, a department of the Museum that develops kits and sets of museum specimens and artefacts that can be loaned to schools across Queensland.  Two years later I began full-time employment with the Museum as a cadet Library Technician, and in 1999, after completing my Diploma in Library and Information Studies I was appointed to the position of Library Technician.

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