Museum of Farnham

Found it!

I have located some flint tools donated to the museum a number of years ago. No wonder I couldn’t find them. They are tiny. They were unearthed near Frensham (just south of Farnham) and the finder kindly wrote all of the grid references on to the bags. The finder has given a number of other objects to the museum in the past and it is great to have people in the local community donating to the museum regularly and increasing our knowledge of the local area. On this occasion he has donated 23 flint tools.

One of my main tasks at the Museum of Farnham is to deal with the ‘accessioning backlog’. To ‘accession’ an object is to formally accept it into the collection and deal with all of the paper work that comes with this process and finally find a home for the object. Quite a few museums have problems with ‘backlogs’ of objects. This is generally because there are not enough staff hours to deal with the backlog and other things such as events, applying for funding etc. appear more pressing and have solid deadlines which need meeting. If some flint has sat in a corner for a year it can sit in the corner for another year and be totally fine…right? Not really. The longer objects are left in limbo the more chance there is of information about them being lost and objects deteriorating due to poor packaging and an unstable environment.

So on with the paper work, assigning an accession number, taking photographs, recording all of the information about the objects onto a database (we use Past Perfect http://www.museumsoftware.com/), recording the same information onto an index card as a backup and  finding a home for the object in the archaeology store. Should take some time with 23 to do…

Now where did I put that archaeology?

My name is Emma Traherne and I am Assistant Curator at the Museum of Farnham.

My job involves a little bit of everything. I help with education and outreach, I manage the website and social media, I create exhibitions, help manage the volunteers and deal with enquires from the public. This is all brilliant I hear you say but what has it got to do with archaeology? Although I do all of the above I still consider myself an archaeologist. I studied archaeology at university, I have been on excavations and I try to keep up to date with the news and current issues affecting the sector. The Museum of Farnham also has an archaeology collection and as Assistant Curator I assist in the care and management of the collection.

Along with archaeology we also have a very fine collection of costume (shoes, fans, lace, dresses, hats etc.), an archive (paper documents and photographs), fine art and social history (generally non paper objects which are not considered archaeology). So you can see that archaeology is just one small part of the collection that the museum holds. This is why when I came in this morning I asked myself ‘Now where did I put that archaeology?’ as I wanted to make sure that I had some archaeology to talk about on the Day of Archaeology.