Museum Life: balancing life and work

A bit of a personal post this week, as I reflect on the balance between work and my personal life.

If you haven’t noticed yet, here is a re-cap, I am pretty passionate about my work as a museum professional. I feel fortunate to have a job that I love and combine my interests and hobbies. This means that it can sometimes become difficult to separate work from my private life and it is easy to fall into the trap of never having a ‘real’ holiday. My holidays and breaks are often filled with visiting galleries, reading new publications, researching and travel. There seems to be a never ending list of new things to learn in the area of fashion and costume. While I love learning and researching in this area, the split between work and non-work can become blurred. I didn’t really have a relaxing break in the first few years of full time work.

This year, I have made it my conscious aim to take a holiday that is truly relaxing in preparation for the New Year, instead of trying to do too many ‘work’ like things. Regardless of how much I enjoy my job, downtime is important at the commencement of what is sure to be a busy year. I have been off work for two weeks and have mostly spent it with family, friends and swimming at the beach. During this time off I have also had a chance to get back to some of my favourite hobbies.

Here are a few of these hobbies:

1. Cocaine Blues by Kerrie Greenwood: a fictional book in the series about fabulous private detective, Phryne Fisher set in Melbourne, Australia in the 1920s. The is a great light holiday read with beautiful detailed descriptions of Phryne’s amazing wardrobe.

2. A new knitting project: Ravelry ( and A Stitch in Time Vol. 2 by Susan Crawford are useful resources of historical knitting patterns.

3. Sewing from historic patterns: I have been working on a new 1940s dress for work. Etsy ( is one of the best online resources for historic patterns. You can even download a free Horrockses inspired dress from the Victoria and Albert Museum (

What do you get up to during your holidays to relax and how do you separate work from your private life?


Image: Holiday knitting project, from 1936 Australian Women’s Weekly magazine


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  • January 10, 2013 07.38 am

    I understand perfectly what you said. I work in a big theatre in Buenos Aires. It´s an emblematic and historic place. I work at the archivement and library section, as a librarian. Althoug as time goes by we start to feel tired because the routine, this job still giving me satisfaction. And it´s true that sometimes “i go home with it” cause i love history and paintings, my apartment looks like a humble libray. I´m 33 and i start here 13 years ago and im considering change this place and take workstation in a museum, as a guide.
    It could be a different landscape but always in a cultural environment.
    I consider myself very lucky for the possibility of working in something i love.
    Regards from Argentina 🙂

    (im sorry about my english, i know it´s terrible but im just learning)

  • Rebecca January 15, 2013 04.33 am

    Dear Ga,

    Many thanks for your comments. I am so glad that you identify with my experience working in the arts.

    Best wishes,



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