Ayesha volunteers for Birmingham Museums Trust as a Silver Conservation Project Assistant and a Long Term Loans Assistant
What do you do?
I have two volunteer roles. The first role, which I started in about November 2014, is Silver Conservation Project Assistant. The project originally concerned silver objects in the ‘civic collection’ store in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery but having completed these objects, we have since moved to the Museum Collection Centre and we are now conserving the silver objects there. I photograph the objects and then undertake conservation cleaning of the object. After photographing it again I repackage it for storage using either intercept film or including intercept foam in the packaging. The intercept should slow down or prevent the object from tarnishing again.
My second role, which I began a year later in November 2015 is Long Term Loans Assistant. Here I research object files pertaining to long-term loans to and from the museum. I look for facts such as the objects provenance, movement history and location. I have been trained in using the KeEmu collection database in my research. I have also audited a gallery at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
How often do you volunteer?
I volunteer twice a week on average, Wednesdays for the Conservation Assistant role and Thursdays for the Loans role.
Why do you volunteer?
Initially I volunteered as I thought it would just be fun. However, having volunteered in both these roles, I have since decided to pursue a career in collections management. Volunteering has given me hands on experience in this sector and though I am now working and will be undertaking Masters later this year, I plan to continue volunteering to carry on gaining experience and skills in this sector.
How you got involved in volunteering/organisation?
As the Museum is local to me after graduating I decided to try my hand at volunteering and thought that the Conservation role was perfect for me as it was behind the scenes. After doing this, I knew I wanted to work with museum collections in the future. It was then when I spotted the Loans role and could not pass up the opportunity to work in a different facet of the Collections Department at BMAG.
What you get out of volunteering?
I have gained immeasurable experience from volunteering. I have handled objects, conserved objects, used equipment such as X-ray Fluoroscopy, have been trained in a collection database used in many museums around Britain and have volunteered alongside museum professionals. It was on the back of my first volunteer role at BMAG that I was able to gain a volunteer role at a different organisation in Birmingham which has led to a paid position. Prior to volunteering I did not know what career path to follow but volunteering led me to a definitive career goal and has given me experience in the area which is vital to gaining employment.
What are your passions and interests?
I have always been interested literature and history and my first degree was in English Literature where I was able to combine these two interests. Aside from this, I listen to a lot of music and have taught myself to play the guitar (although the very badly).