Posted by: robbedlyric | January 23, 2012

First Day.

Today was the first official day of my year long internship! It’s been a really long day full of house-keeping stuff and health and safety and that but we also got to do some really great things.

This morning Jeff, the curator talked to us about our options for our personal projects. We all have different things we want to gain experience in so he went over some of the projects we can get involved in across the museums.

I, for example want to gain curatorial and collections management experience but there are other interns who want to work in education, visitor services and a few other areas. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk about some of those things later in the year as they progress too. Ideally I’d like this blog to stand as something people can use to decide if this is an experience for them, so I’d like to cover as much as possible in the future. But that’s the future. Back to today….

Jeff also allowed us to get used to some of the basics of handling rare objects. Objects should obviously be treated with care and respect but it’s no good being afraid to handle them! We were able to handle first editions of Wordsworth’s The Prelude (1850). We learned how to take books down from the shelves, it’s important not to pull the book forward off the shelf by the spine as this can damage the bottom as it rubs on the shelf and the spine will crack. Therefore you push the books either side back gently so you can securely hold the book and lift it from the shelf.

We also talked about the different kinds of damage the books can suffer such as light damage. The rarer copies are often kept in boxes so we talked about how to lift the books from the boxes. Most importantly we were shown how to open the books safely, supporting the book in one hand, with the cover resting on your thumb and allowing the spine plenty of room. As we looked through the books we discovered from the inscriptions that not only were they first editions, they were often presentation copies given by Mary Wordsworth to their friends.

Later in the day we went on a poster walk round the village putting up the posters for the next few weeks’ events. We must have looked quite a sight; all ten of us walking two by two like a school trip out! We walked back to the museum along the river. The rest of the day was dedicated to Visitor Services and the many roles that involves, it’s a very varied part of museum work and as we have a few more introductory sessions to go I think I’ll save that for another post.

Finally at the end of the day we got our first official task as interns, together we have to transcribe a few of the trusts letters by Beatrix Potter for the Beatrix Potter Research Society. Like I said, a very busy day!

This has actually been quite a short post but as this week will be full of new experiences I hope to post quite often. Also I will try to have a long post about last weekend’s Arts & Book Festival up by the end of the week (fingers crossed).

On that note; Goodnight!

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