Last week, during our usual Wednesday training day, the Ipswich Trainees took a stroll through the lovely summer morning to the Suffolk Records Office in Gatacre Road. The aim of this visit was to help us understand how a different type of organisation operated and the roles they undertake. The experience was doubly valuable, thinking about our research for the Battle of the Somme exhibition. We are looking to link the display to those heroic people from Suffolk who played a major part in the First World War. (So if there are any readers out there who know of anyone local, with memorabilia from this period that they would be happy to have displayed, it would be very nice to hear from you.)
Back at the Record Office, we were greeted and given a tour by Emma, who is a Documentation Officer. She gave a very interesting talk, where we learnt about the history of the establishment and asked many questions. This gave us a chance to compare the Record Office with the museum sector, identifying similar employee roles and jobs e.g. the team who maintain the collections and make them accessible to the public, the conservators who protect the objects and documents to limit deterioration, the volunteers who play a vital part in the workforce, along with the front of house staff. Emma complimented the efficiency of the team and their ability to provide access to stored documents within 20-30 minutes of a visitor’s request. I was impressed by this fact, as it demonstrates a high level of organisation, as well as the importance of providing great service and customer care.
Due to conservation care, the temperature and humidity levels in the stores are kept at 18 degrees and 72% RH (relative humidity). This is the best environment for the types of materials. Just like in a museum, these factors are vigilantly monitored to limit the amount of stress on the collections. Like museums, record offices use ‘movement tickets’ to keep track of object locations. They are also regulated, being accredited when they achieve and maintain high standards. It is inspiring to know that the multiple skills acquired during our training at the museum can be transferred to other interesting sectors such as this.
The rest of the week consisted of working on the Collections Information Programme, documenting objects in the stores. During this time, we have been coming across many hidden treasures, thinking up some great catchy text writing labels for the Battle of the Somme display, and prepping for upcoming events, such as Anton’s I-AM Rap on Thursday 20 April. The eveing has had such a great response on social media. The itinerary is impressive, with some amazing local artists and an open mic session for those who wish to demonstrate their talents to our guests. Hoping to seeing everyone there!
More next week!
Ciao for now!