My great joy of living in Salisbury is that I have been here since birth and thus know so many people. So it is, as I help, with others, working our way through scanning all the museum’s negatives, we discover photos of people we know. The negative is slowly scanned and there, before our eyes, appears a face we recognise.
The photograph here is of a very young lady, as she was when the photograph was taken in 1973. She was in the same class, at school, as my wife. But there, in the background of the photograph, is the plumage of a bird and its head. To me this bird can be no other than a Salisbury Museum Great Bustard. The archway on the left, and possibly more displays beyond, appear to confirm that it is the museum. But what is she doing?
The photograph is not clear enough to enable me to read the notice above her head or the poster in front of her. The contraption she is working on appears, at first sight, awfully modern for a museum. Was she a volunteer?
A copy of the Salisbury Journal around the end of January 1973 might give the answer. On examining the contraption in detail, one finds, at the top, the famous Salisbury Museum chess knight. Foremost there is a transparent dome over a possible display of neck pendants. One of these pendants is hanging over the front, showing an eight-sided flower motif. On the right there is another, much taller, transparent dome which would go over the tall work piece. The half tin, precariously balanced on the stand top, looks as though it has a nail-like pin in it. Are these what the young lady is using?
I conclude that she is working on some special museum display. It looks as though the basic material being used to support the objects is cut foam rubber. This is the material that was used to line boxes carrying delicate instruments such as cameras. Pins and nails would easily push into such material.
Ann and I both wondered what our erstwhile friend is up to now. We haven’t seen her around Salisbury for decades. A search on the internet tracked her down to a business in Bristol. It would appear from her website that her museum experience has stood her in good stead. Maybe she could visit from Bristol and give a museum lecture on how working at the museum can lead to an exciting career?
As Alan explains, he works with our photograph archive and sends us endlessly fascinating examples from the collection to ponder. Thank you Alan.