There is a new documentary series by the BBC that, with some rudimentary Googling ingenuity, you can stream free online.
“Secrets of the Museum” documents the goings on in the Victoria & Albert, with particular focus on the conservation of some of the two million objects in the museum’s collection.
Although I’m making the executive decision not to research further into “cleaning porn” for fear of getting caught in a dark web quicksand, I’m certain that among its more wholesome iterations belong the art conservation category, with tile grout pressurised water blasting (Blastoise-ing?) and carpet shampooing on the more lowbrow end of the spectrum. Visceral, cerebral satisfaction guaranteed.
In many ways “Secrets of the Museum” is the perfect quarantine binge. It’s all the good bits of educational: historical, cultural, and British. It makes you feel smarter afterwards, and will make you want to drop by the nearest museum to breathe in the cultural microdust and speculate on the ordeals behind the velvety drapes.
Indeed concerns in the V&A universe are manifold and wide-ranging, from how to “stabilise” a raggedy old stuffed elephant, to identifying a mysterious madame in a miniature portrait, to crowd-sourcing an era-defining miniskirt dress, to talking to the son of the guy who shot David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album art for some fascinating back story about its making.
I’m actually surprised that there are so many shows made about doctors and lawyers and politicians, and not so much about museum staff. I guess it’s because they don’t seem to be a particularly high-strung bunch. They seem perfectly content in making sure the precious objects are safe and well protected—and they themselves will tell you why that’s of paramount important #fortheculture.