It seems that each week trumps the last in providing more and more wondrous things to behold or do and this week was full of both! I’ve always been curious when seeing an object on display at a museum or exhibition as to what the very neat handwriting on the object denoted – now I know! Once finds have been washed and dried they need to be marked. Each museum will have a specific way to do it but as a starting point it’s usually a site code and a context number for the deposit in which it was found. So, armed with several trays of finds, I began my Monday morning with a pot of Indian ink and a quill-pen (with the tiniest nib).
The rest of the week was focused on preparing archives for deposition and I focused on three completed projects that are to be deposited in Leicestershire County Council Museum Collections in August. Having read Leicestershire’s guidelines I began to look at the first project. Sorting out the documentary archive is a bit like unravelling tangled head phones; you can see the general shape of what it should be but the order appears interwoven and jumbled. Consulting the museum guidelines helped me resolve the paper chaos and the archive was then ready to deposition standard.
Towards the end of the week we made final checks on a project archive that was scheduled to be deposited with Museums Sheffield on Friday afternoon. Once those checks were completed Jess and I loaded it into one of the new Wessex Archaeology branded 4x4s and off we went to find Sheffield Archive’s warehouse of wonders! This is something that I’ve been really looking forward to as we were not only depositing a finished project, but we also were getting a tour of the archives! From taxidermy to Bronze Age canoes, Ancient Egyptian scarab beetles to a 1985 paper user guide of Microsoft Paint it was an Aladdin’s cave of treasures! I was shown how the museum grant their accession numbers and how far back those records go. Seeing this process really helped me grasp why each museum has such precise guidelines for depositing archives as they have a huge variety of records to contend with. Peeking behind the scenes of the museum world was a great way to end the working week.
By Emma Carter