The next tasks…

So the flint finds are all done and placed in the archaeology store (why are archaeology stores often located underground?). Also took down another box that had been hanging around the office. This box contained the paper archive created by the Museum of London Archaeological Service when they carried out an archaeological survey during the redevelopment of Farnham Hospital.

When I came back up from the store I found some visitors needing a bit of help in our library. They were researching their family history and I located for them some microfilms of the local newspaper ‘The Farnham Herald’ which I set up on the microfilm reader. Hopefully they found what they were looking for.

From 1:00-2:00 I was recording on a Dictaphone the curator’s talk about the four new objects placed on display in the ‘A History of Farnham on 50 Objects’ exhibition. This week she was talking about medieval pottery, Farnham Greenware, a diorama of stuffed squirrels playing poker and a pastel drawing of William Cobbett.

The curator is adding a new object every week and gives a talk once a month. Most of the objects in the exhibition have been accessioned but many are not on the museum computer database yet. It is important to have a digital database of a museums collection’s as it acts as a back up to the paper records, is much more efficient than paper records for finding information about collections and the software can be used to place the collection online therefore increasing the collections accessibility. So I have photographed objects that have been recently added to the exhibition, including the pottery and some Roman roof tiles (from the Six Bells site), and will now add them to the database.

I feel very lucky to have found a job in a museum with an archaeological collection and I hope that in the future I will continue to work with material like this in a museum setting.

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…