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!
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