My Museum: Nicola Lawson

My Museum shares the experiences of our staff, volunteers and interns of working at Saffron Walden Museum. Nicola is our Social History Collections Review Intern, working with us for three months.

“I applied for the Collections Review (Social History) internship at Saffron Walden Museum because it seemed like a great opportunity to take the next step in my museum career. I started out volunteering in museums and then went on to do an MA in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. When I applied for the internship, I had just finished the MA and gone back to volunteering in museums to gain additional experience while job searching. The internship allowed me to take on more responsibility and work more closely with collections than I had been able to do before. I have always loved social history and the personal stories of some of the objects I have discovered here have been a particular highlight – the other day in the store I found a fragment of the Berlin Wall!

Fragment of the Berlin Wall, Museum No.1996-20Over the last ten weeks, I have been working my way through the Inorganics store, documenting objects and making sure that there is a searchable electronic record of them on the museum database. I have also been repacking them in boxes using acid-free tissue paper to ensure they don’t get damaged while they are in the store.

Nicola Lawson

I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to get involved in other projects during my internship, such as the museum’s Uttlesford Community of Collectors outreach project, where local collectors display their own collections. I also curated June’s Object of the Month exhibition, for which I chose and researched the object, then decided how to display it. I chose a Braille writer, because I had never seen one before and the idea of researching how it worked and the history of Braille really appealed to me.

Working on these diverse projects has allowed me to develop my skills in collections management and care, and exhibition research and text writing. It has also been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The skills I have gained have helped me to secure a two year contract working as a Graduate Trainee Curator at the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven, Cumbria, which is an exciting new opportunity for me! But I’ll miss the staff (and the collections!) at Saffron Walden Museum!”