Guest Blog Post by Euan Malpas and Laura Hanafy. We are here as part of the work experience program of Manchester Museum. This is an account of what we did:
On the first day we trekked to ‘the Whitworth Dig Site’ to visit a newly archaeological dig searching mostly for remains from the 1960’s era. The dig had already uncovered a selection of artefacts such as alcohol and medical bottles, broaches, buttons, children’s toys, keys and smoking pipes. We then observed school kids in year four taking part in various activities such as a drama workshop, digging and cleaning of artefacts. It was a boiling hot day but it was very enjoyable.
On the second day we were first greeted by a conservator at the museum called Irit Narkiss. She discussed her day to day job and the importance of keeping the artefacts intact. We were taught the many ways of deterioration of objects and methods of stopping pests destroying valuable objects. We found out how conservation is an extremely important part for the museum to mend and sustain museum collections. It was a very gripping talk and we learnt a lot. In the afternoon we were fortunate enough to meet the curator of Earth Sciences, Dr David Gelsthorpe, who gave us a tour underneath the museum in the private store rooms which was amazing to see the collections which are not shown to the public!
On the third day we worked with volunteers on the handling tables at various points around the museum including the Egyptology area and the ancient money area. It was very interesting to see how the volunteers responded to visitor interaction and questions. We were then treated to see the live animal’s attraction which was the handling of reptiles; in our case we saw a Python and a Rough Scaled Monitor (aka a Lizard). We were very lucky to be able to stroke the calm Python and hold the beautiful lizard. We met some lovely interesting volunteers that taught us a lot about life in the museum.
On the fourth day it was a day full of Botany aka a lot of plants. We were lucky enough to meet the curator of Botany, Dr Rachel Webster, who provided us with amusement and a tour around the ancient part of the museum including the medieval style spiral staircase. We saw a significant amount of the collection and learnt information on the history of Botany in the museum. It was very enjoyable and we were fortunate to help with the packaging of the collection.
On the last day we met the marketing manager, Tim Manley, who gave us the opportunity to judge websites and techniques on social media to advertise the museum. We found it very interesting to learn about the advertisement of the Museum.