National Civil War Centre

Volunteer Insights - Richard

"On leaving the power industry after 36 years, I had a bit of free time so applied to volunteer at Appletongate Museum in 2000/1. As the first group of volunteers we were tasked with documenting the photographic collection. While doing this, a full time post was advertised to catalogue the entire collection. Along with Sue Rogers and Andrea Smedley who did all the inputting into Modes, we worked the entire stores and displays at Appletongate and then onto Millgate to repeat the exercise there. During this time, Appletongate closed and we had to move every item of the collection to a new purpose-built store at the Newark and Sherwood Depot on the industrial estate, now known as the Resource Centre. Packing the whole collection from Appletongate and moving it to its new home, students volunteered from Lincoln University to help with this, plus all the items in the Millgate stores, a barn store at Hockerton and a huge store from behind the dental practise on Appletongate. The dental store had suffered water damage so the entire content went to Nottingham to be cleaned of mould etc. Consisting of human remains from various archaeological digs in the area.
Some 5 or 6 years later we were consider to have completed the task and I finished my employment.
Following this, Millgate closed and its contents were also shipped to the Resource Centre with the assistance of many volunteers.
The opening of the Civil War Centre followed.
About 5 years ago I decided to return as a volunteer at the Resource Centre to assist with collections management, cataloguing new items initially and then asked to resolve a problem within Modes. As you can imagine moving thousands of objects, packing and unpacking to a new home and editing Modes with location changes, many anomalies occurred.
In excess of 3000 items still had their location as Appletongate in Modes, clearly not true but where were they? Somewhere in the Resource Centre.
Armed with a list and knowledge gained from my involvement with cataloguing and moving significant amounts of the collection, I set about tracking the 'missing items'.
Systematically checking through the many racks and thousands of boxes, I have been able to reduce this number considerably and at time of 'lockdown' have only around 500 left to locate, thanks to Julie Walker, another volunteer who has edited the new locations in Modes.
Things should be easier to find in the store but real discipline is required to keep location changes up to date as items are used in displays or on loan or sent for conservation.
To adhere to this discipline is an essential requirement to maintaining our museums status and is subject to audit." - Richard, Resource Centre Volunteer