Having been here a few weeks now, I am already getting opportunities to work with and handle the objects at Ipswich Museums. The Collections Information Programme (CIP), which is currently underway is recording and organising all the items in the museum’s care. It involves the careful logging of information about each object, as well as updating wherever possible its MODES record (the computer system that holds data about our objects). This week my roles included photographing and measuring material on display in the Geology Gallery.
We began by setting up a mini photographic studio using a light box and lights, before opening up the display cases to bring out each object. It is a wonderful experience to hold such a vastly ancient thing in your hands and learn a little about it’s long history. I placed each specimen in the tent, marked the location/display details and any identification numbers on a card, and then photographed the two. Each item looked like a police ID photo! This was followed by taking more detailed photographs and measurements.
Up close and through the crisp lens of the camera, you can see so many amazing features, including scratch marks from glaciers, the speckled texture of ancient sharks’ teeth and casts from thousands of years old worms. What a way to spend your day! You can see these beauties in Case 21 in the Geology Gallery at Ipswich Museum.
I also found myself twisting through the railings of the balcony in the Victorian Natural History Gallery, in order to place labels alongside each head. This needed to be done in a way that wouldn’t interfere with a visitor’s enjoyment of our beautiful and historic space. We tried to hide each accession label behind the head and out of the way, which meant a lot of squashing and turning, as well as a few ‘ouches’. A slightly painful experience, but at least I didn’t get stuck!
Here’s to lots more intimate moments with wonderful things in the museum collection!
All the best,