May 27, 2020

Moving a Mountain: Volunteers View Pt.4

In this series of blogs our collections move volunteers will tell you all about their experiences of the ‘Moving a Mountain’ project so far. This week they tell us what has surprised them about the project.
Category: 2020
Posted by: Sarah

Since the current lockdown situation has put our collections move on hold, we thought this would be the perfect time to reflect on the project so far. A large part of our project is our amazing volunteer team, and so who better to tell you all about their experiences! In this series of blogs, some of our volunteer team will tell you all about why they decided to volunteer, what interesting specimens they’ve seen and what surprises they’ve come across along the way. This week they answer the question: What has surprised you most about volunteering on this project?

Lily - The range of people from all different backgrounds who are involved in the project, it’s been so much fun to spend time with everyone and we achieve so much every session!

David - I can do something different to what I was doing in my earlier life.

Steve - The sheer scale of the project. I’d obviously read about the numbers of specimens in the role description and in other published information about the project, but seeing the miles of racking and the seemingly endless supply of specimen drawers really brings it home.

Andrew - The biggest surprise for me was learning about the variety of different ways that museum specimens are catalogued and conserved. Undertaking this volunteering has allowed me to do a wide range of procedures; from hoovering specimen drawers, to adding data about the condition of specimens into a museum database to taking photographs of specimen trays.

Roger - I think I’d expected more people like me – alumni of the Department and retired. So I’ve been surprised that many of the volunteers are a lot younger, and without a geological background.

Amy - The very obvious layers in labelling and storage fashions. One generation thought it was best to paint the rocks, the next thought sticking labels to them was good and another came along and made hundreds of tiny cards for them.
Oh, and the soot! I had no idea that the Sedgwick Museum was once coal fired until we had to clean all that soot.

Bernard - How pleasant even dull-sounding tasks could be. Carving up blocks of felt or card was strangely relaxing.