I started off 2014 with a three month internship with the Collections Care department at The National Archives, and have learnt a huge amount working as part of a varied and busy team. I transitioned into conservation by recently completing a Master’s degree in Book and Paper Conservation at Camberwell College after 20 years working in knowledge and IT management. I saw that there are many overlapping skills and approaches in collection care compared with my previous work experience and focused on this area whilst studying.
However, preservation management is a broad topic which remained somewhat theoretical during the degree course. This internship meant an opportunity for me to experience the pragmatic daily routine of collection care. My projects, which developed as we went along, included handling training, environmental monitoring, pest management, surveying and rehousing which brought me in contact with each area of departmental responsibility.
I was tasked with planning and building a collections handling online module for staff. This project allowed me to connect with many people across The National Archives, reinforced my practical handling skills and allowed me to draw on my training skills acquired in my previous career. It has been great fun working with the various teams to act out and film examples of both good and poor handling.