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The Queen, Howard Carter and Amitabh Bachchan—Mandy’s museum memories

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We began talking about some of the superstars of our collection, and our memories of the Museum 30 days ago when we decided to count down to our 30th birthday.

With a collection that’s 3.5 million objects strong, and 30 years worth of famous guests, fabulous exhibitions, and first-class film festivals, it’s not surprising that we’ve still got so much to share with you.

On the second day of our big birthday bash (here’s what’s on), Mandy Tennant, our Audience Development and Volunteer Coordinator who started working for the Museum in July 1993, picks some of her favourite moments from the past 11 years…

I find it difficult to pick one defining moment as there’s been so many exciting events and guests, so I’ve chosen a couple of things that stick in my memory.

Howard Carter's Camera, 1920 - 1922, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL

Howard Carter’s Camera, 1920 – 1922, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL

In July 1993, during my first week and first walk around the galleries, I spotted Howard Carter’s camera on display; I was so excited that I called my husband. I remember thinking how lucky I was to work here, and how amazing that this camera was the real thing, not a replica!

Bite the Mango 1999 – one of my favourite memories and a story I tell often – was when the biggest legend and nicest Bollywood star you could meet, Amitabh Bachchan, was the special guest star at the closing night gala.

During the day he wanted to have a walk around and meet people. It was fairly quiet as people were expected to arrive for the evening event to meet their idol. A young couple were walking towards the Museum and saw him just outside the entrance – they could not believe it was him.

Amitabh Bachchan

I think he enjoyed that chance meeting as much as they did. I loved seeing their reaction, and the whole evening was a night to remember. Pictureville Cinema was a sell out. I vividly remember all the beautiful colours, and the excitement and buzz in the air.

In 2000, the West Wing at the Science Museum was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and I was one of the lucky few chosen to represent this Museum. I remember thinking how elegant she was when she walked in the room; she had a very calming effect on everyone in the room.

In 2009, Virginia McKenna was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th Bradford International Film Festival. After her on stage interview, I had a chance to meet and have coffee with her.

Virginia McKenna

I sat and listened to her talk about her film career and how her passion has turned to animal welfare and the incredible work she does. During her interview, Virginia quoted the Leo Marks poem The Life That I Have, which was a poem code during World War II, and made famous in the film Carve Her Name with Pride (1958). She spoke the poem so beautifully that I almost cried. I’ll never forget that moment.

Thanks, Mandy.

We’re asking you to share your own memories of the Museum, from our magic carpet ride, to watching Avatar in IMAX. Just leave a comment on this blog, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter, using the hashtag #NMeM30.

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