Volunteer Insights - Allan
"Every museum has more objects in its collection than it has room to display them. The National Civil War Centre - Newark Museum gets around this by storing these reserved objects in a building in the council yard on Brunel Drive. It is in this building that I, and five others, volunteer on Tuesday mornings, with others doing the Tuesday afternoon.
When an object is received into the collection by a member of the museum staff, it is allocated its unique object number. For example NEKMS : 2020.16 would be the 16th object stored in 2020 by Newark Museum Service. A detailed record form is completed showing a simple name for the object, and briefly saying where it came from, who it came from, and its approximate value. The object and paperwork are put on a shelf for attention by one of the volunteers.
So, I’ve been to the shelf and got an object and accompanying paperwork. I check that its unique object number is matched to the paperwork and complete a new form giving the same information but in more detail. The object has its unique number marked in a suitable place, and it is then photographed. All the information on the form, plus a copy of the photograph is then entered on the computer and filed under the unique reference number. Anyone wanting to find an object again can do so by using the computer to search for the object by name, type, date or doner’s name. So far, so good. But...
What about all the objects that came from Mill Gate and Appleton Gate? Without being recorded with the unique number and/or entered on the computer?
Well that’s where all the other volunteers have a task to do... They give the object the new number and a bit more. For example, a box of tools. The box will be NEKMS : 1981. 47, then the first tool would be NEKMS : 1981.47/1 and the next tool NEKMS : 1981.47/2 and the next /3 etc.
My wife Barbara and I started volunteering at the Appleton Gate Museum in 2004, and when that closed down we moved to Mill Gate Museum, and when that closed down we moved to the Resource Centre.
The work we do is interesting and you never know what the next object will be. It could be from the Civil War period, the Victorian era, or modern times. We have objects that were school prizes for sports, or part of the old school uniform. Estate Agents kept photographs of the properties they dealt with, but we sometimes struggle to identify just where the property is located. Usually the whole group will discuss possible locations, either in the town or a surrounding village, during the mid-morning coffee break. On one occasion the object was gifted to the museum as a Civil War cannon ball, but on closer inspection was found to be for girls under 12yrs putting the 'shot'." - Allan, Resource Centre Volunteer