Dr. Elee Kirk’s research on children, photography and natural history museums was a thing of beauty. Elee was a natural researcher. She worked in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, giving cameras to child visitors, and letting them zoom around and photograph things, after which she would interview them about the images they had taken.
Elee was remarkably skilled at paying attention to the voices of the children with whom she worked. And her research was a fascinating insight into the richness, the texture, the quirkiness, and the complexity of the experience of child visitors to museums. Elee received her PhD from the university of Leicester in 2015, and set about sketching out a plan for a book about her work. When she died in 2016, her book was still at the planning stage. So after her death, I worked on revising, editing and expanding her thesis, to turn it into a book.
The final book, Snapshots of Museum Experience, was not exactly the same book that Elee would have written herself. But when it was was published by Routledge in 2018, I was delighted to see her work out there in the world, so other researchers could continue to be inspired by her approach and her insights.
More recently, I’ve just heard that the book is going to be translated into Korean, and will be published by Muse&Logic press. I know that Elee was fascinated by the challenges of working with child audiences in museums cross-culturally (we spent a lot of time together in China visiting natural history museums), and so it will be fascinating to see how her work is picked up and developed in East Asia.