As we continue with our plans to deliver a refurbishment of the Steelhouse Lane Lock-up and relaunch of the West Midlands Police Museum, we have increased our team with the recruitment of a Museum Manager - Helen Taylor. Helen started at the beginning of February and brings a wealth of museum and collections experience with her, which will help with our aim to professionalise and gain accreditation:
"Discovering the scary but exhilarating Jack the Ripper story, in a visit to the Dungeon in London with the Girl Guides is what first triggered my enthusiasm for history.
I loved childhood trips to the Black Country museum with my grandparents, going into the mine and hearing re-created explosions. That immersive experience conjured up people’s real lives from the past.
My love of history led me to take a degree in History and American Studies at Wolverhampton University, which I followed with a Post Graduate degree in Museum Studies.
In my spare time as a student I volunteered in the Locksmith House museum, and when a paid job role came up with the Black Country Museum, it was a wonderful opportunity that resulted in me working there for the past 12 years. Initially as a costumed guide and demonstrator, and then in marketing before becoming an assistant curator.
In the last two years, I have been the collections manager, which has meant being responsible for caring for all the exhibits, which range from tiny collectables such locally made glass to up to trolley buses, boats and everything in between.
When I saw the police museum job advertisement, I thought it looked amazing. Not many people get to be part of the creation of a new museum in a new space. That’s really exciting and I’m so glad I applied!
The old Steelhouse Lane Police Station is an exhibit in itself, and people will want to come and visit because the building is so interesting. It is the ideal backdrop to tell the stories that represent the history of our people and communities and will make our collections feel relevant and exciting.
We will be telling a story that is continuously evolving right up to the present day. For instance, people forget that CCTV is a very recent technology. It helps police to identify offenders through photographs and is a perfect example of the way police have always been good at seeking out new technology to improve their ability to tackle crime. We will be able to tell the story of photography in policing, from old mug shots, through to one of our most recent additions, a drone.
We want to do justice to the story of West Midlands Police, so our communities can see how policing has evolved and continues to change right up to the present day. My role will be key to getting the displays professionalised, so they can gain accreditation as that will ensure the long-term preservation of the collection."
Follow the progress of the West Midlands Police Museum on Facebook (The Lock-up), Twitter (@WMPHistory) and Instagram (Steelhouse_Lockup).