What follows here is an illustration of just one of the many skills taught to Salisbury Museum volunteer scanners. To obtain perfect digital images from the museum’s vast collection of negatives, there are a number of such skills to be learnt.
A flatbed scanner which scans negatives usually comes with a number of plastic templates for the various sized negatives. These templates attempt to keep the negative aligned to the vertical and flat, as well as allowing automated scanning of multiple negatives placed on the flatbed. The scanner hardware/software senses which template is in use by first scanning some plastic codes at the top of the template. Thus, if you are not using any of these templates, one must not have anything in the first ½ inch of the scanning flatbed, otherwise the scanner gets confused. It is far quicker, easier and more productive, not to use the plastic templates, but read on.
Software such as Vuescan can easily correct any misalignment of the negatives from up to 5 degrees away from the vertical, more than adequate. Any negative placed on the scanner flatbed must therefore be at least ½ inch away from the top edge of the flatbed where the scanning illumination starts. The first image here of Salisbury Cathedral, with the top of the tower covered in scaffolding, was produced by placing the negative by itself on the flatbed. It looks as though the Cathedral is bending in the wind. I can assure you that this was not the case.
The heat from the scanning head has curled the negative whilst scanning it. The remedy is to have a piece of toughened glass, made with ground edges, and the correct size to fit the flatbed, minus the top ½ inch. Salisbury Glass specially made this for the Museum. Now one can put the negative on the scanner flatbed, position the negative and then place this sheet of glass on top, being very careful in letting the glass descend the final ¼ inch not to disturb the position of the negative. A technique that also had to be taught. The negative is now constrained to remain absolutely flat whilst being scanned. The second image here now shows the Cathedral without distortion, as the negative has not curled.
I thought that this was a nice example to illustrate one of the skills acquired by being a Salisbury Museum volunteer scanner.
Best wishes, Alan
Wow! It was a truly amazing day at the museum last week.
We had over 705 visitors, picking up 65,280 bits of LEGO and putting them onto 1,020 LEGO tiles. In exactly six hours we made a complete LEGO version of Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows. This is now on display in the Main Exhibition Galleries, opposite the real thing. The plan is for the work to stay there until the end of the month, when it will go on display in Salisbury Library.
…numbers? No – these are LEGO bricks! In this, the museum’s second collaboration with the family-owned Danish company LEGO, John Constable’s fabulous painting, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831) is coming to life today as a brick by brick construction. This is part of the museum’s Aspire programme of activities ( Aspire is the programme which has brought the painting to Salisbury and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund ) which continue until March when the painting moves on.
A lot of Volunteers are assisting with this epic undertaking today. Thank you!
Festival of British Archaeology, Heritage Lottery Fund, National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, Pitt River, Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum, Salisbury Cathedral, Wessex Archaeology
For my finial post I have been looking into the Shared Learning Project that Salisbury Museum has been developing with Salisbury and Sarum U3A as part of an initiative to improve intellectual and physical access to the collections in the new HLF archaeology galley. The initial project began in 2011 to develop content for the gallery and finished in June 2013, ready for the building work to begin in October. Salisbury Museum is looking to continue working with the U3A on future projects, and are hoping that some of those who have been involved in developing content will want to get involved with the HLF gallery when it opens in Spring 2014.
“Part of the aim of this project is to develop a longer term relationship with the local U3A – some of the people involved will develop specialist knowledge about the collections so will hopefully go on to steward the gallery once it is open, or undertake guided tours and object handling with visitors. Some of them took part in the decant of the old galleries and will be taking part in other collections projects such as documenting the Pitt-Rivers collection and photographing the collections in preparation for an online database.” – Jane Ellis-Schön, Project Curator.
The Shared Learning project involved 13 U3A Shared Learning volunteers working with Director Adrian Green and Project Curator Jane Ellis-Schön to select and research objects for open storage drawers that will go below the interactive desk stations in the new gallery. The drawers will contain artefacts that cannot be handled because they are too precious, but will provide visitors with greater access to more of the collection. The volunteers were divided into smaller subject study groups based on their interests and given training on object identification and research so that they were able to choose interesting objects to go on display. The topics for the drawers were chosen in consultation with the Project Curator and the U3A Shared Learning volunteers and include Palaeolithic handaxes, Neolithic tool kit, Bronze Age metalwork, Pitt-Rivers, Roman Jewellery, Anglo-Saxon textiles, and Pottery through the ages.
Jean McFarane, who is a member of Sarum U3A, volunteered for the Shared Learning Project because of a long time interest in archaeology. She has said about the project:
“Our U3A was interested in supporting Salisbury Museum and for 18 months we have been working in pairs on aspects of the new gallery. I’m working on the proposed Pitt Rivers Hub. My partner and I have been exploring the collections and store cupboards in order to put together items that will demonstrate Pitt Rivers’ contribution to the world of archaeology as an excavator, scientist, collector and inspector of Ancient Monuments.”– Jean McFarlane, Volunteer.
In July 2014, during the Festival of British Archaeology, the museum will have a weekend event to celebrate the opening of the new gallery. In the new gallery visitors will be able to truly explore the archaeology collection, making their own discoveries as they search through the themed drawers and interactive elements.
As part of the event there will be various activities such as a living history demonstrations (including flint knapping and bronze casting), spot light talks in the gallery, and a series of U3A ‘Tea and Talk’ events to showcase the Shared Learning Project. There will also be stalls and activities led by partner organisations such as the National Trust, Salisbury Cathedral, Young Archaeologist Club and Wessex Archaeology. The celebrations will also be taken out into the community so that people who are unable to access the museum can get involved, with activities taking place in areas such as Bemerton Heath and Amesbury.
With so much going on a Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum next year, be sure to check the website or contact the museum to find out what’s on. And if you would like to get involved in volunteering please get in touch with Bridget Telfer, the Volunteer Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org; 01722332151.