Tag Archives: work experience

Gaining Experience

We have enjoyed a busy and exciting week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil. One of our highlights was helping a work experience student from Preston Academy.

The student enjoyed learning new skills such as entering new records onto our database and being able to learn about some of the local heritage through doing this. One particularly important aspect of this that the student enjoyed was making sure that the information entered was accurate and correct; this is something that is very important when it comes to entering new records.

The student also enjoyed taking a tour around the centre and being shown the various objects that we have here and learning about some of the history behind these objects. Being shown these various objects has also demonstrated to the student how Yeovil has changed over time; not just visually, but culturally as well.

On top of this, the student met many of the volunteers that work here and was shown the various tasks that our volunteers do, such as accessioning and documenting new objects that have arrived. Meeting these new people and working with them has helped the student raise their self-confidence with talking to new people in a new environment which is an important skill to have for any workplace.

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This is one of the student’s favourite objects.

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 As a student studying history, the prospect to be able to get up close and personal to artefacts and historical documents is just too good to miss.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.

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

‘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.”

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