Lindl Lawton is Senior Curator at the South Australian Maritime Museum.
Becoming a Curator
Lindl has loved history since she was a ‘little kid’. Her family used to go on houseboat holidays on the River Murray and everytime they reached an abandoned settlement Lindl would spend half an hour digging around. She describes herself as a ‘frustrated archaeologist’.
Lindl went on to study history at university where she says she tried to work out how she could work in history without working in academia.
She studied public history, a broader degree than museum studies, and this led to her career as a curator.
Pathway to History SA
Lindl was working at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney when a job opened up at the South Australian Maritime Museum.
I have long links with South Australia, and family here. When I was a child I always made my father take me to the South Australian Maritime Museum when we visited Adelaide. My father grew up in Grange, he loves Port Adelaide and he would take us to see the ships in Outer Harbor every Christmas. Since working at the Maritime Museum I’ve discovered that my ancestors were somewhat legendary in the Port Adelaide Rowing Club. One of the things I have enjoyed working here is finding links in Port Adelaide to my family.
Working at the South Australian Maritime Museum
Lindl says that one of the things she enjoys most about working at the South Australian Maritime Museum is that she has to do almost everything associated with working in museums. Coming from the Australian National Martime Museum with reigistration, prep, design and conservation departments this is quite a different experience.
One of Lindl’s roles is to manage a collection of 20,000 maritime objects, items related to the history of Port Adelaide & South Australia’s maritime history. This involves making sure the collection is looked after properly, and acquiring new material.
Lindl also develops exhibitions on maritime themes, this work includes a wide range of tasks from coming up with exhibition concepts to painting walls. Since she started work at the Maritime Museum Lindl’s certainly become a deft hand with a power drill.
I just say, is it a Phillips head or a slot?
Other aspecsts Lindl’s role include responding to public enquiries and developing public programs with the Museum’s Education Manager and other staff.
For the love of it
One of the things Lindl loves most about her role is the public programs and exhibition development. She relishes the opportunity to collaborate with other people and organisations, thinking laterally and getting people involved who aren’t working in museums, like chefs and artists.
I don’t feel I work as ‘expert’ but that every project is a learning curve, it’s like being able to study every time.
Lindl names producing the Rough Medicine exhibition as one of her proudest moments.
It was a real challenge as we had no objects, but everyone liked the concept and it was fantastic project to work on.
When asked what her colleagues might not know about her Lindl described herself as ‘a chronic oversharer’.
My colleagues know everything. I do have a secret desire to volunteer on excavating a Mayan ruin though …