Sophie Roberts – Student Placement Blog

Hello everyone! I am Sophie and I’m currently doing A-levels in English Lit., Geography and, of course, History, at Dauntsey’s school. I have always been interested in history and known that I have wanted to study it but when it came down to applying it to a career I had no idea. So I decided to do some work experience at the museum to get an idea of what I could do with history in the future. I already knew about the museum, having attended YAC (Young Archaeologists Club) here for a number of years and I was at the opening of the Wessex Gallery in 2014, so I was interested in seeing how the museum worked, having seen its public face.

On Monday I was given a brief introduction of the museum, before being shown around the British Art: Ancient Landscapes exhibition, which I hadn’t seen. It was  really interesting. I was then given a Spotlight tour which showed off some of the best parts of the museum. I found the history of the building itself to be the most interesting part, as although it’s an historic building I’d never given thought about the history of it. Most people are focused on the collections! In the afternoon I helped with the Glow Wall event but having to explain to children how to use torches on the glow wall got a little repetitive for me.

Tuesday was a day of cataloguing, with the morning spent boxing up a model from the Social History store. I enjoyed building the box despite my lack of modelling skills and it was quite a relaxing activity. It was also amazing to be able to have a look around the stores which have so many wonderful artefacts just sitting on shelves. The afternoon was spent up in the Costume store and I quickly learnt that the museum has a lot more clothing than I originally thought. It was an interesting afternoon with an awful lot learnt.

The next morning was also spent in the stores, cataloguing the Pitt Rivers collection. This was spent mainly looking at stone items from Iceland and deciding which ones matched the descriptions and numbers given to them. The morning also saw me introduced to the MODES system which to me looked like a rather large spreadsheet. The morning also saw the re-packing of a few boxes and a particular highlight was holding a reconstructed black Roman pot and packing it. The afternoon was spent doing admin which mainly consisted of transcribing a talk which was an interesting listen even if I did hear the same facts about fifty times!

Thursday morning was back in the costume store and consisted of cataloguing a carrying case for a baby which was massive and had a lot of detail on it. Before looking though the rest of the box which consisted of a mock-medieval page boy uniform which looked pretty garish and a number of 1970s Salisbury Giant t-shirts! The afternoon was spent archiving the press that the museum has run from 2013 to now, which was an interesting look at another side of the museum.

The final day had come and I spent the morning archiving some of Rex Whistler’s book covers that are contained in a large, specially made, folder. After filling in one cataloguing sheet I entered a couple of covers onto MODES which was great until the computer decided to delete a massive description just after I had finished writing it! This was a fitting end to my work experience week, which allowed me to see all parts of the museum and over the week I came to appreciate the amount of work that goes into running this museum.

Thank you Sophie, for all your help.