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Alex Partridge, MA (Hons), MA

Alex Partridge, MA (Hons), MA

Collections Coordinator, The Polar Museum

Biography

Alex first worked with Arctic collections during his undergraduate research days in Aberdeen. There he helped to re-contextualise a number of Palaeo-Eskimo and Inuit items originally identified by their collector in the 1900s as Beothuk, a now extinct First Nations population of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. From this, Alex developed an interest in both how museum collections are documented and in the history of collecting in Polar Regions more broadly.

Moving indoors from his—very soggy—job as a field archaeologist in northeast Scotland, he was part of the first cohort of Museums Galleries Scotland interns backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, receiving on-the-job training at a museum in Aberdeen. Alex then consolidated what he learned with a Museum Studies Masters in London where he again worked on Inuit collections, this time in the British Museum brought by those who went in search of Franklin and the fabled Northwest Passage in the 1850s. And, following a career in collections management and care at Windsor Castle, helping to look after the decorative arts in the Royal Collection—including some great Inuit things!—he began a PhD in Cambridge looking at yet more Arctic collections in museums, which led him nicely to his current role at the Polar Museum.

Career

  • 2018 - to date: Collections Coordinator at the Polar Museum
  • 2017 - 2018: Arctic Cataloguer at the Polar Museum
  • 2014 - 2016: Collections Information Assistant at the Royal Collection Trust
  • 2011 - 2012: Volunteer Coordinator (Intern) at University of Aberdeen Museums

Qualifications

  • 2013: MA Museum Studies, University College London
  • 2011: MA (Hons) Archaeology, University of Aberdeen

Research

For a long time now, Alex's research has centred on the archaeology and history of encounters in the circumpolar north. One of the central areas of his PhD research in Cambridge is exploring how the different networks of people and things involved in collecting Arctic material culture can transform the ways in which indigenous communities in the north are understood by themselves and others.