Dr Elee Kirk
Elee Kirk (November 1977 – August 2016) was a scholar and museum educator, who held a PhD in museum studies from the University of Leicester. Her work focused in particular on the experience of young children in museums, and drew upon years of hands-on experience working in science and medical museums including Thinktank (the Birmingham Science Museum), and the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds.
In 2012, Elee was diagnosed with breast cancer. The cancer returned in 2016, and Elee passed away in the summer of that year. This site is now managed by Dr. Will Buckingham, her former partner and collaborator.
This site gives a little bit of information about Elee’s work. If you are interested in Elee’s research, then the best place to start is her book, Snapshots of Museum Experience: Understanding Child Visitors Through Photography, published by Routledge in the autumn of 2018. If you would like to get in touch about any aspects of Elee’s work, then do get in touch with Will through his website.
Welcome to the gallery of the real
Some time last year I was in a natural history gallery with a Natural History Museum educator from the USA. I asked her, “What question do children most commonly ask in your museum?”, already anticipating that the answer would be, “Is it real?”. I was right, of course, with children’s favoured question number two, on both sides of the pond, being, “Did you kill it?”.
The world over, young children seem to be totally baffled by taxidermy. A couple of months ago I visited the Oxford University Museum of Natural History with my two nephews, aged seven and four. They spent most of the visit trying to get their heads around the relationship between ‘real', ‘alive' and ‘dead'. “But when are we going to see the real ones?”, they kept asking. And they weren’t convinced by my patient, rational response that these were real, they were just the skins of dead animals that someone had stuffed to make them look alive. To the boys, ‘real' meant ‘alive'[Read More]