May 11, 2020

Moving a Mountain: Volunteers View Pt.2


In this series of blogs our collections move volunteers will tell you all about their experiences of the ‘Moving a Mountain’ project so far. This week they tell us what they’ve enjoyed about their experience so far.
Category: 2020
Posted by: Sarah

Since the current lockdown situation has put our collections move on hold, we thought this would be the perfect time to reflect on the project so far. A large part of our project is our amazing volunteer team, and so who better to tell you all about their experience so far! In this series of blogs, some of our volunteer team will tell you all about why they decided to volunteer, what interesting specimens they’ve seen and what surprises they’ve come across along the way. This week they answer the question: What have you enjoyed most about your experience so far?

Lily - Carrying out conservation work on the old labels has been my favourite experience at the Sedgwick. It’s so satisfying to gently coax them out from under the layers of grey grime and know that they’ll be protected for the years to come

David - Meeting so many nice people, staff and other volunteers. And being part of a team that is doing something special (I can’t think of a better word!)

Steve - It’s a great bunch of people to work with, both the Museum’s staff and the volunteers, and the overall atmosphere is very friendly. Although the tasks sound like they might become a bit boring after a while, I have really enjoyed trying to develop the most efficient processes, and trying to meet or exceed the day’s targets while maintaining the standards we need to achieve. I also get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing the racking fill up very visibly!

Andrew - I’ve enjoyed looking at the collections and getting to see the sheer variety of objects and stories behind them. I’ve also enjoyed the feeling of contributing to a big museum project and undertaking work that will allow future generations to enjoy these specimens.

Roger - The whole experience has been enjoyable, although I’m hoping to get to know my fellow volunteers a bit better when we start again. It’s been interesting seeing the sets of exam specimens – most I could identify but there were certainly some that I couldn’t, and I wonder how well I would have done years ago.

Amy - I’ve seen a lot of fantastic rocks! There were whole drawers of slate, huge chunks of obsidian, gorgeous granite pieces and the notes accompanying each told their own story too.

Bernard - It is hard to pick out a single thing. It was interesting and useful to get some practical experience of collections care, such as the judgement calls involved in cataloguing and the range of threats to collections, including things I’d never have thought of, such as chemical reactions with the wood that the drawers are made of. Rocks are quite robust things, but turn out to be more vulnerable than I’d have thought. It was socially interesting too, from meeting a range of different volunteers with different motivations and perspectives, to listening in on tea-break conversations with Sedgwick folks. Getting to wear Science Clothes was awesome, of course.