The kids were all off school this week in yet another half term break. Is there no end to them? It seems to me that they have more breaks than school. Maybe they should make school days the breaks since they are so heavily outnumbered.
The crowds were so bad outside the museums at lunchtime that I found it impossible to cross the road from our side to the V&A side. The only thing I could do at lunchtime was go to Starbucks. Even this was difficult given I was heading against the tide of tiny heads.
The trouble was that I went to lunch far later than usual. There was a very good reason for this. I was at a meeting in the Shipping Gallery.
I have embarked on a temporary new job at the museum. In 2014, a new exhibition will open where the Shipping Gallery is at present. This new set of objects will be about Communication. This means that the ships and boats and related ephemera, has to go.
Most of it will go into storage but a few bits have to be returned to the people they were loaned from. The trouble is, this isn’t always that easy. If something has been on loan for 100 years, for instance, the owner could be no longer with us.
Yet other bits and pieces will go on loan to other institutions or moved around to one of the other museums which form the entire Science Museum collective.
Whatever is to happen to the objects, they have to have their records amended on the database. That’s where I come in (as well as other volunteers). Kristen and Luke work on the gallery floor, filling in forms with all manner of details about the objects. We then update the database files. Then, and only then, they can start moving the objects out.
2014 seems a long time away but Nick claims everything will be a huge rush at the end because it always is. At that time, we the volunteers may be called in to lend an actual hand with the actual objects.
So, we had a meeting about what we have to do and then (an hour later than usual) I left for lunch and I think I’ve already moaned enough about that.
After lunch, I sat down and started the new job as soon as Nick had shown me what is expected regarding areas of MIMSY I’ve never ventured into. All great fun. Though this isn’t the best fun.
Every object has a Technical File. This is a folder containing any paperwork that accompanied the object when it arrived at the museum. This is the best place to turn to when you’re stuck. Like when the master of all things nautical (Nick) has never heard of something as famous as the Isherwood System.
It was fun doing something different though it’s not going to be all the time. As I finish the records, I am to continue with the Art Project. No chance of getting bored. And, of course, I’m also learning an awful lot about shipping. Probably more than I need to know.