Amalia standing in front of the Rock Wall at the Lapworth Museum of Geology.
Amalia standing in front of the Rock Wall at the Lapworth Museum of Geology.

Amalia Robertson | BSc (Hons) Palaeontology | MSc Museum Studies

I first discovered fossils when I was 13 years old and ever since I have been obsessed with everything prehistoric. I knew I wanted my placement to be within an earth science/natural history museum from the get-go. When the placement choices first came out, I was immediately drawn to the Lapworth Museum of Geology and a project at the Natural History Museum. I choose to apply for the Lapworth placement because I could see the benefits of being a part of a small team. I wanted to be involved in lots of aspects of museum work as much as possible and I knew being based at a smaller museum would allow me to do that (my friends thought it was crazy that I chose not to go to the NHM).

The project at Lapworth was a collection audit of their historic collection. Lapworth museum went under a re-development in 2016 where the stores and gallerystudent were re-done, the store being moved. My job was to go through some of the collection, make sure it was stored correctly with the right materials and check each specimen on MIMSY (collection management system) to make sure the location information was up to date. This may sound a little repetitive, but I enjoyed going through the collection not knowing what was going to be in the next drawer that I opened. It was satisfying sorting and repacking items.

Alongside the main collection audit, I was able to contribute to many different tasks and to take part in general meetings and activities. I sat in on the various family workshops that happened throughout the summer; I found it very useful in understanding how different museum events work. I also shadowed the new Assistant Curator in his daily roles such as putting specimens away, pest checks and social media posts.

I was able to take part in some 3D scanning and photogrammetry of a croc skull and flint axes. I very much enjoyed the specimens coming together on the computer screen and how this makes specimens accessible to anyone and everyone.

Amalia uses a 3D scanner to digitise a stone axe specimen at the Lapworth Museum.
Amalia uses an Artec 3D scanner to digitise a stone axe specimen at the Lapworth Museum of Geology.

As part of the re-development in 2016, the storeroom was made more accessible for store tours, this included a visual store. This is where part of the store is made to be seen through displays and drawers (without much interpretation) with the aim of showing how diverse the collection is. I was tasked with re-vamping some of the drawers. Instead of just putting specimens in I created a display that showed the sort of things that might happen within the store, such as conservation, accessioning, and storage, as well as equipment.

Overall, I had an amazing time and met some amazing people during my time at Lapworth Museum of Geology. I learnt so many new skills which I am so grateful for. It was a dream come true being able to work within a geology collection. I would highly recommend doing a placement or project within this museum.

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