My Work Experience With Craven Museum

This week Katie from South Craven School came to do some work experience at the Museum. See below for her blog post about her time with us!

This week I had the pleasure of being able to complete my work experience with the Craven museum team. It has been very helpful offering me an insight of what working in museums and galleries could potentially be like. In addition, I have been able to experiment with different skills such as organising information and photogrammetry (more on that later) but most importantly, working with the museum has allowed me to gain an appreciation of the rich levels of heritage and culture that surround me in this historic part of England, an aim which I’m sure the museum are very pleased to have achieved.

Day one greeted me with a friendly introduction to the group and an overall summary of what my role as a volunteer would be. Gemma, the community heritage curator and who I would be shadowing, introduced me to the museum’s project of ‘Mystery Boxes’. Mystery boxes are large chests full of historical items which are free to go out into the public and education systems for all to enjoy. Each box has a different theme and inside contains an array of different historical artefacts relating to the theme. For example, my box was titled ‘Childhood Memories’ and contained over 30 items which were popular or used in the 1940s and 50s such as a rationing book, various vinyls, the 1955 Lion annual and interestingly a ‘Holidays at home booklet’ which was given out to the people of Skipton during WW2. The booklet aimed to encourage residents to stay at home for the holiday season in order to restrict public transport; it describes a variety of activities taking place in the summer, such as dances, to compensate for the restriction of travel. It was my job to organise the items and provide descriptions of their historical significance whilst also creating potential activities which could be done in schools.

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The ‘Childhood memories’ Mystery Box

Gemma also showed me the proper and professional way to handle historical artefacts giving me a brief look at some of the items the collection has. Although the museum is currently closed for refurbishment, I still managed to see many different objects and fossils. One which I particularly liked was a late Victorian teddy bear that was very worn down and damaged, obviously due to the amount of love he had been given throughout the decades. After I had told Gemma I was interested in working in museums she was very helpful with answering any of my questions, as where the rest of the team, she even showed me the system which they use to categorise all their items, probably over 60,000 in their entire collection!

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Taking the pictures which would later be transfered to the software to produce a 3D model

In the final few days Gemma and I began to teach ourselves the process of photogrammetry which produces 3D virtual images of any object, a gruelling but rewarding process. I chose to work with a prehistoric brown bear humerus bone which was found in the late 19th century at Elbolton Cave, North Yorkshire. The bone itself is impressive due to its great condition, but did make for a difficult image to photograph. However, after several days I managed to construct a (somewhat) 3D image of the bone, although the image is not complete I am still very pleased with how it turned out and I am very interested to see what other virtual models the museum will be able to compose in the future.

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