The prospect of attending a national conference as part of a position that I hadn’t begun was intriguing, if a little daunting. It was made more so by the fact that it would consist of people from the field in which I had strived to be in for such a long time and had only just entered. I was unsure as to what to expect from my first NatSCA conference. Thankfully, upon arrival I saw some familiar faces and felt instantly more comfortable; I began to get excited.
After getting past any initial shyness, I set about saying hello to as many people as possible. Over the next two days I met many interesting members of NatSCA, involved in different disciplines within natural sciences: from molluscs and entomology; to botany and geology; and human biology and collection conservation. The presentations, on the whole, were fascinating. I learned about: conservation problems and techniques to combat them; the future of museums, their collections and how they can be developed/used going forward; case studies and inspirational examples of existing museums thriving despite sufficient funding; the history and recent renovation of the Great North Museum; as well as NatSCA itself.
Meeting my fellow trainees (Ben and Gina) and befriending them, as well as breaking the ice with people I will hopefully be seeing more of in the coming year, certainly kick-started my traineeship in a dynamic and galvanising way.