February 1, 2016, by Kathryn Steenson
Mapping a Career in Conservation
This is a guest post by Kelly Grimshaw, former volunteer and University of Nottingham English graduate who approached us with an interest in a career in heritage.
In the summer of 2015 I volunteered with the Manuscripts and Special Collections Department for two and a half months. I was involved in three projects: sourcing archival material from 20th Century Nottingham Post newspapers for the Boots No 7 80th anniversary exhibition; undertaking a Digital Asset Survey (recording the digital materials within the store); and cleaning 19th century maps within conservation.
After recently graduating, I was investigating the career options available within the Archives and Library sector. Having the opportunity to volunteer in different sections of the department and having hands on experience with the various careers helped me make an informed decision on where I wanted to lead my own.
Coming from an artsy background, conservation was already something of interest to me. It combined my love of creativity with my love of heritage. I was introduced to what conservation was trying to achieve, the potential causes of damage, the ways of preventing and fixing existing damage and the care of materials. I also had hands on experience, working with chemical sponges, erasers and other equipment to clean 19th century maps. The 5 weeks I spent within the conservation lab was extremely enjoyable and informative and has now given me the inspiration to apply for a Masters in Conservation.
Overall, my experience of volunteering within the Manuscripts and Special Collections department has given me great connections and valuable experience to use when applying for a Masters. It has given me an honest snippet into what the heritage sector can offer me and I am very keen to begin the next step into my career.
Manuscripts and Special Collections runs an active volunteer programme. Preference is given to University of Nottingham students and recent graduates, particularly those interested in a career in libraries, heritage, or information science. For more information and how to apply, please see the Volunteering pages on our website. More details about careers in heritage Conservation can be found on the Institute of Conservation‘s website.