Tag Archives: University

Praise for Preservation

A busy and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

This week staff received an insight from the Yeovil University Centre Students, which they suggested to share on the CHAC Weekly BLOG.

Our Experience at Yeovil’s Community Heritage Access Centre

“History is a continuous process of interaction between the present and the past”– Edward Carr

As third year degree students, it is thrust upon us to venture out into the professional world and dabble in some voluntary work to help us establish where we will move on to from the student bubble after graduation. As a student studying history, the prospect to be able to get up close and personal to artefacts and historical documents is just too good to miss. My peers and I were able to grasp this opportunity and have an enriched experience with the wonderful Clare and Joseph at the Community Heritage Access Centre in Yeovil.

Our CHAC experience opened our eyes at just how much time and effort is put into the maintenance, restoration and pro-longing the life of items and documents behind the scenes within the archives. Our journey started with the ‘simple’ idea of documenting items and recording documents within the accession register. “That’s pretty easy and straight forward” you would think. That is what we thought at the start of the session, surrounded by pretty photographs of the local area; scenes of fields, buildings and roads with the odd bustle of crowds in-between. Oh how wrong we were! When documenting an item such as a photograph, the whole scene has to be depicted. Here are just a few fundamental things one has to think of when doing so: What road could that be? Which building is that? Has that been replaced? Has it changed? If so, how? Where would that collection of fields be? (Wait, those fields look like the fields on the other end of town, so surely that building isn’t that building after all?) Who made the frame? What are its dimensions? Has it got a date? If so, when? Any damage at all? Any finger marks? Any dust? The list of possible questions could go on and on. The same applies for documents: When? How? What? Who? This then has to be documented and then written within the accession register. It was shocking how just a few pictures took up the whole session, and gave just a small insight into the running and up-keep into this particular element of the centre.

Another session which was eye-opening was the general care and maintenance of the artefacts themselves. The time, patience and up-keep of the individual items to extend their life really was astonishing. Clothing is vacuumed with a unique vacuum designed specifically for the conservation of clothing and materials (this can either be a tedious task or a therapeutic one). Ceramics are cleaned with a single cotton bud to ensure nothing is damaged (again, this is up to the individual whether the task is tedious or therapeutic) and metals are kept dust-free with specific cleaning agents. On top of all this for the artefacts themselves, the store is kept at a consistent temperature with the humidity being monitored closely to ensure mould is at bay.

It doesn’t end there. The staff and the volunteers in the access centre then prepare exhibitions, talks, appointments and show groups around the archives. On top of this, we were throwing around ideas for events in the local area to promote CHAC in all its glory. To many, the process behind the preservation of local history won’t cross their mind. Indeed, I was also naive and was not in any way prepared to learn how many hours, dedication and just pure passion for history has gone into the conservation of the archives for us to enjoy, love and learn our local history.

DSCN0133

Some of the work completed by the Yeovil University Centre Students.

Advertisements

A Broad Gauge Platform

We have enjoyed a busy and fun week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

Highlights this week have included an invitation to a celebration of the Great Western Railway around Yeovil. This is due to be held at the Ninesprings Café, Yeovil on Wednesday 9th March 2016 from 2pm to 6pm. We were asked if CHAC had any objects or documents for a display at the event.

Staff searched the database and created a pdf document of relevant items to check and for future reference. The subsequent results proved remarkably intriguing and ranged from a porter’s peak cap to a ‘mustering ticket’ from Martock Station for GWR employees also belonging to the Home Guard.

In thought-provoking comparisons we have a dramatic photograph of a railway accident in 1913 and a small folded card with a poem commemorating those lives lost in the same tragedy. At the other end of the ‘social spectrum’ is a selection of receipts from the former Thorpe’s Chip Ship at Sherborne Road, Yeovil. The Chip Shop’s connection with the GWR lay with the large quantities of potatoes; fish and oil which were ordered and arrived by train. These will make another notable contrast with images of Yeovil Town Station and Hendford Halt, as well as photographs of the Chip Shop Itself!

The selection of the objects also helped when we were asked to provide a photograph to advertise the event!

This Thursday also saw the last weekly ‘staff led’ activity with our group of Yeovil University Centre Students, co-incidentally looking at Children’s Activities. We shared knowledge of our current activities including talks, archaeology finds afternoons and photograph afternoons. These emphasised CHAC’s location, as we tend to have bookable events, with around 20 places available and set at 2pm-4pm due to parking availability! However, we also looked at the events we have enjoyed ‘in the community’ with decorating cotton gloves when we met her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh and gargoyles at Milford Road Community Hall.

The afternoon was completed by some superb and imaginative word searches, mosaic floor title colouring and rather grand cotton glove decorating!

We also referred back to Social Media as we hosted a Social Media Training Workshop at SSDC Headquarters on Tuesday. The Trainer provided a particularly varied (and quite exotic sounding!) list of social media platforms for attracting new ‘followers’ to (and of) CHAC – which could be used to advertise our activities and tours – an exciting development.We wish to thank the Yeovil University Centre Students as the sharing of staff knowledge actually served to remind us of the significance of the processes we have in place and that we achieve quite a lot!

Some of the items we aim to display at the Yeovil GWR Afternoon on Wednesday 9th March 2016

DSCN0429

DSCN0433

Some of the creativity created by the Yeovil University Centre Students

DSCN0437

 

 

‘Hire’ Education

We have enjoyed a busy and entertaining week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, Yeovil, Somerset.

One of the highlights this week was a meeting with a donor of the Pulman Archive. Mr Pulman was a clergyman from Norton Sub Hamdon. This was particularly intriguing as our volunteer had been documenting the archive for nearly two years.

We have also enjoyed the company of a group of Yeovil University Centre Students. They have helped us to select a number of objects related to historical crime around the Yeovil area which is to be displayed at the Yeovil Town House in July 2016. These included some manacles and a whip and caused some amusement.

We have also looked at potential images for the 2017 Yeovil Calendar and considered different typefaces for the front cover.

The students commented about their experiences:

“This is an educational experience we would otherwise not have received.”

“I like touching all the antique objects, hands-on approach – with gloves on!”

“Really enjoyed looking at the old photographs and discovering that Yeovil is more than gloves and lactic cheese!”

“Enhanced work experience for my CV and knowledge of career opportunities.”

DSCN0277

DSCN0291

DSCN0287