This week saw the Hereford Museum Resource and Learning Centre open its doors to the public on Thursday (for Heritage Open Days). Although anyone can make an appointment to see the collection and have a tour, this was one of the regular opportunities for people to walk in off the street and see what the curators and volunteers get up to behind closed doors, as well as go on a store tour.
I was in the learning room with one of the volunteers (Robin); I had tasked him with the lovely job of cleaning the mollusc collection. Some of them were in a similar condition to those in Ludlow that I cleaned. So although Robin is dedicating his spare time to this task, I had a go as well so that the visitors could see us all getting stuck into various projects.
Similar to the shells in Ludlow, we used a deionised water and alcohol mixture (50/50) and hand-made swabs (I’m a dab hand!) to gently clear the muck and dust and grime off the shell surfaces. Then we used drafting powder and natural rubber to gently clean any boards that had been used.
We had about 40 people visit us in a few hours, asking what we were doing, why, how long it takes, how we do it, etc. It was great for them to see what goes on. All around us were different people showing a variety of things: labelling/tagging objects, sewing things to preserve the costume collection, pinning insects, scanning archival photographs and cataloguing fossils.
The next blog post I write will be one to look out for. I am visiting Berlin next week to spend six days shadowing/working with several curators at the Museum für Naturkunde (Natural History Museum). I can’t wait. I’ve been looking forward to this for months and am so glad that I’ve been able to organise it. I will get to practise my German in a professional capacity (nervous) and experience a city I’ve always wanted to visit in an interesting way.
I hope I love it as much as I think I will. Keep your eyes peeled for a Berlin blog post, coming soon.