I might be standing in a crowded dockyard faraway

As part of my work experience at the Historic Dockyard Trust, Chatham, I helped to digitise their ongoing library audit. This involved copying up paper audit reports onto the computer which required a great deal of sustained concentration and attention to detail, meaning I have enhanced both of these skills. Being part of this library audit has helped me to gain a greater comprehension of cataloguing and accessioning.

Furthermore I helped to monitor humidity levels and temperature across the site. Using this technology I have learnt about the importance of regular monitoring as well as the need to update and check equipment. I have also helped to properly catalogue a large number of maps, plans and blueprints which has helped me to understand the necessity of proper cataloguing within a museum environment. This has also given me first-hand experience handling old documents.

Throughout my time at the Historic Dockyard Trust I have learnt the value of double checking everything, as small details must not go unnoticed. Furthermore, I have realised that, although I am not a naval or military historian, collections within these types of museums can in fact include a great number of artefacts which may allow one to explore cultural and social history also, meaning that in the future I will not shy away from military museums.

Work experience at the Historic Dockyard Trust, Chatham has also helped to inform my future career choices as I have decided that in the future I would like to explore a more public role within a museum, for instance, with the education team. Nevertheless, it has also taught me about the variety of work an archival worker might undertake, from filling out forms to crawling through timbers!

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The B-KEW Bursary has allowed me to go further afield to gain work experience, meaning I was able not only to carry out a work experience placement in Canterbury Cathedral Archives (which is in walking distance) but also in a museum environment at Chatham which had a more costly commute.

– Audrey Woodhouse is a 2nd year History student at the University of Kent

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