I have been lucky enough to do some work experience with The Salisbury Museum. I was really excited as the Wessex Gallery has only just opened and I hope to work in archives as a career. I was also curious as to how much of the museum’s collection is on display and the different roles the people undertake.
On my first day I began with an orientation with the Volunteer Co-ordinator, who explained where everything was and what my role would be throughout the week. I was then lucky enough to spend the rest of my morning in the museum’s archive helping to look for objects that had been requested.
Although many of the artefacts and documents in the archive are computerised, it was brilliant to see the original documents, some of which dated to when the museum first began, which was really interesting. It gave an insight in the quantity and variety of pieces that the museum houses, which you would not have realised by simply looking around the gallery.
The afternoon was seen as a special occasion at the museum as the Director gave the staff a behind the scenes tour of the building. We began outside the museum, where we were told about the history of the building when it used to be a teacher training college. We then went into the variety of upper floor rooms where different artefacts were stored. My favourites were the limit-less draws filled purely with keys and the office room filled with taxidermy, particularly the duck with three legs!
Throughout the Tuesday I spent my time with the Finds Liaison Officer, distinguishing different types of Roman coins. It is remarkable how some of them are in brilliant condition, even though they were made so many years ago, as well as the fact that we are now able to date them so specifically. I was also able to help take pictures of the different finds, which was brilliant, as well as drafting a treasure report for a medieval strap end.
On my third day I was able to shadow the Admin and Marketing Officer. Before now I didn’t realise the variety of jobs which people do within the Museum. Throughout the day I helped label and package the invitations to the private view of the ‘Salisbury & The Great War’ exhibition, as well as folding leaflets. I was also given the opportunity to go around the Museum and photograph my favourite pieces, which were then put on the Museum’s Twitter account
Throughout the afternoon I continued to help in the office, as well as going into the Wessex Gallery to do the newly made quizzes for visiting schools. Even though some of the questions were quite simple, it really helped me to look at certain aspects of the gallery in more detail.
During my last day at the museum I continued to help the Finds Liaison Officer and was also able to finish my Treasure report for the Medieval Strap end. Work Experience at the museum was an invaluable experience and I really enjoyed it. I experienced many different activities, which was fantastic! The Treasure Report I produced is something I will always be proud of.