My Museum: Emma Bastin

My Museum shares the experiences of our staff, volunteers and interns of working at Saffron Walden Museum. Emma is a Collections Volunteer, working with our social history collections.

“I’m a fairly new volunteer at the museum – I’ve only been coming in since May – but in that time I’ve had a great exposure in the workings of a local museum and the great collections that Saffron Walden Museum has.

I am a collections volunteer and I work with Leah, Collections Officer (Human History). I come in once a week and spend the day cataloguing social history objects that the museum keeps in its stores.  I am currently working through one of the museum’s stores, writing descriptions of each item for the museum database, and re-organising the way items are stored.  This is mainly re-packing in acid free tissue paper, labelling the item correctly and storing it in a cardboard box.  Each box is labelled and linked back to the database, so we know exactly where we can find each item, be it Renaissance armour, a copper tap or a Victorian lawnmower.80210-A

I’ve always loved learning about history and the museum gives me a great opportunity to encounter and handle historical objects, from the banal (a selection of nails) to the wonderful (a World War I periscope for looking over the top of the trenches).  I remain impressed by the sheer variety of the objects that have been donated, loaned or bought over the last 181 years.

Leah has also asked me to choose and write about the Object of the Month for September, which I am currently working on.  I think the item I have chosen is brilliant – not least because I had no idea what it was when I first saw it! To find out more, check the blog or come and have a look in the Great Hall in September.”