He works at the town hall and organized for me to help out at an art museum in the town where I went to school. I had no idea what I had agreed to or what I would be doing, but was excited nonetheless. I wouldn't say that I'm not particularly interested in art or museums but we all know how I love playing these different roles and getting glimpses of different lives. So this week was round "life in an art museum!" (sorry for the unoriginal title...)
I think it's only fair to specify that this art museum is actually in a castle that belonged to Louis 16th brother, and has a tour that dates even further back, to the middle ages.
|Beautiful setting : check!|
(I got these pics from ze internetz!)
So I only worked there for one week, but I had quite the routine. I left to work every morning with my host dad. We listened to the news, and I nodded my head and laughed or smiled or frowned on cue as I tried to understand whatever the reporter was talking about and as my host dad half shared his opinion and half explained what was going on. If you ask me eight am is a little early for French political radio...We left at that time for my host dad's work at the town hall, next to the castle. Otherwise, I wouldn't necessarily have to go in so early. Often, I was the first to arrive and was locked outside the gates. But it was never long before someone with a key to the castle arrived! Those keys are in the hands of three women who were my bosses for the week.
Here are some of my own pictures of the museum:
|My favorite room of the museum, a mix between Versailles and English (IMHO)|
|A bench borrowed from the castle of Versailles|
|Canons looking over Gray|
The first day was pretty awkward. When I walked in, I presented myself, and the three of them obviously had the impression that I didn't understand French. They started by talking to me incredibly slowly, and I tried very hard not to let a laugh out. Luckily, they quickly caught on that they could speak normally!
The first example of this was over morning coffee, which we would continue to take every morning at ten. We all stopped whatever work we were in the middle of and gathered upstairs. Through a narrow hallway, in a tiny attic room with creaking hard wood floor (possibly the original) we sat on our designated stool and drank a coffee, gossiping about the artists who were scheduled to come in that day to drop off their artwork.
Throughout the week, we had many artists come by as we were preparing for a big exhibit that would open on Friday. In other words, I arrived just in time for four days of total chaos!
I felt very useful and productive some days, doing legitimately helpful tasks (i.e, hanging up paintings, painting sculture stands, carrying artwork upstairs, applying text to the walls, making flyers...). While other hours went by more slowly, as I made photocopies, answered the phone and used the paper cutter for hours on end to cut said flyers. These tasks were occasionally interrupted by museum visitors. In the first few days we saw tourists from Switzerland, Germany, France and England! I was very keen on the English couple and even though they came by on my first day and I had only seen the museum once myself, I accompanied them on their visit and managed to give a pretty complete and entertaining tour. :)
Friday day was spent between setting up tables outside and laying out napkins and plastic wine cups and unpacking the 400 catalogs that we had had delivered. The exhibit doors opened at six pm. And while there wasn't exactly a line of people waiting outside the door, we did get a decent amount of visitors. I took on the job of cashier for those buying the catalog and souvenirs, bartender for those in need of a drink, informed person, for those interested in the art, and photographer, for the press of Gray who were unable to make it to the event themselves.
|The mayor made a nice speech (he hosted an American from Colorado a few years back!)|
|My friend, Adeline, pretending to be serious behind the counter!|