My name is Eliza Howell and I volunteered at Salisbury Museum for the first week of August during my summer holidays. I am currently studying my levels at Gillingham Sixth Form and wish to continue my education to study art history at university. After previously doing work experience at an auction house, I thought it would be good for me to see another side of art history, and consequently I felt that having some experience in museums would be very important. I was interested in this museum as I have visited it before, and previously saw a John Craxton exhibition that I really enjoyed. I’d heard good things about the museum from a lot of people and it definitely lived up to my expectations!
I really enjoyed my work experience; I have been surrounded by beautiful things throughout the week, from fragile costumes to bronze objects from the Pitt Rivers archive, and later on in the week some work by the immensely talented Rex Whistler. The Museum arranged a range of things for me to do, one of which giving me the opportunity to look through some of the Whistler archive. I got to look at his sketches and plan for murals and read some of his letters. I found this experience very beneficial and enjoyable, as it allowed me to look at his art work first hand which I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do anywhere else. I also liked that, whilst I looked at the artwork, I was able to learn more about the process by which objects are protected and recorded by the Museum. This gave me an insight into conservation, and showed me a part of art history which I haven’t seen properly before. Everyone has been so kind and has had beneficial conversations with me that have opened my eyes to possible careers in art history that I hadn’t considered before. I am amazed by the work that is done at the Museum, by both staff and volunteers. I think that it is an amazing resource for the local community, allowing people to immerse themselves in important collections. I feel that after seeing the work that goes on behind the scenes I will appreciate it more and I am looking forward hopefully to returning soon!