Murphy Peoples is the Outreach Programs manager for Museums Victoria, Melbourne Australia, with a focus on taking the museum to people who can’t access physical venues due to age or distance. Her current role covers the breadth of life-long learning, from developing face-to-face and virtual programs for early years audiences, to education audiences via a loans kit service, to reminiscing programs for older adults in aged care facilities. Murphy also manages the museum’s Hands On Collection, with objects and specimens that can be handled by and used with the public.
With a background in science communication and theatre performance, Murphy came to the museum sector in 2006 at which time the words ‘interpretation’ and ‘significance’ suddenly took on a whole new meaning! In her 14 years with Museums Victoria she has worked in Public Programs, Education and in Exhibitions across the different Museums Victoria venues (Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks, and Immigration Museum).
In her role as Exhibition Experience Developer Murphy worked on numerous projects where she has advocated for target audiences and ensured experiences were created for their needs. These projects include the permanent exhibition Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together at Scienceworks in Melbourne’s western suburbs (opened in 2017). Ground Up is a STEM exhibition for babies to five-year-olds. In development of this exhibition Murphy worked closely with local community, early childhood, and STEM experts to ensure this was accessible for a wide range of children and was closely aligned with cognitive and physical developments of young children. The exhibition also had a goal of creating an inclusive space for young girls in a STEM environment.
The exhibition Gut Feelings: your mind, your microbes (2019) was designed for an adult audience and gave Murphy the opportunity to work in partnership with University of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences staff to sample the microbial populations of visitor saliva to map the microbiome of Melbourne residents. In this project Murphy also interviewed researchers and recipients of faecal microbial transplants (poo transplants) and took great pleasure in sharing with our audiences the amazing impacts microbes can have on our whole body and mind health.
Although 2020 included nine months working from home, the shutdown has been extremely busy for Murphy and her team, and pivoting to digital delivery to reach their audiences has been the silver lining for the year.