First week at the Museum Collections Centre…

Hello everyone, it’s Josephine here, with a recap of my first week at Museum Collections Centre! It’s been a busy and varied week; everything from learning how to manoeuvre a pallet truck (harder than it looks) and asbestos awareness training to getting hands on (or gloves on rather) with the Natural History collections!

I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a little bit in awe when I walk into the main warehouse; the scale and variety of collections is amazing. It’s a real treasure trove, and looks incredible especially with the ‘fairy lights’ on!

Josephine Wall - 1

The natural history collections are mostly housed upstairs in the extension to the warehouse. These are the shelves where the herbariums are kept.

Josephine Wall - 2

My main project is to check the documentation for the Bagnall Herbarium is correct and add any addition information. I’m also monitoring the condition of the plants and re-strapping any loose specimens – which can be a very fiddly job. At least I have plenty of moral support from my friendly audience! Wish they could help, but I don’t think big paws or hooves and small tweezers are a good combination and I’m sure we don’t stock gloves big enough…

Josephine Wall - 3

It’s going to be a long job, requiring a lot of patience but I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s wonderful to help preserve this important collection for the future. There are 71 boxes of plant specimens and I’m only on the 1st one at the moment! I’m sure I’ll get quicker at the remounting as my confidence grows and I’m learning so much – about the process of documentation, conservation and also the plants themselves. I think this specimen is my favourite so far. This is Monkshood (aconitium napellus) and I love how the colour of the flowers is so well preserved. Very glad of the gloves though – this plant is poisonous!

Josephine Wall - 4

The team here are really fabulous. They are so helpful, welcoming and knowledgeable, also very generous with food. Hmmm biscuits!

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I can’t wait to read the blog posts from the other interns over the next 9 weeks and find out how they are settling in. I’ll be writing another post in January too – so you can catch up with my progress and find out if I ever managed to stop sticking the linen tape to the end of my glove!

Josephine Wall - 6

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