Late November of last year I sent an email to the Roman Baths collections team, inquiring about student placements. Eight months later here I am writing my reflection, and I can’t believe how fast time has passed. Though my placement has been a relatively short five weeks, so much has happened and all of it is experience I can honestly say I will never forget.
The first week I began helping process coins from the Beau Street Hoard and though I’m sure coins are burned into the backs of everyone’s eyes, I was new to the project and quite keen. You can believe my excitement then when I was given the opportunity to design a display that would be exhibited at the nearby Radstock Museum for a month. I have always been into the arts, so putting this exhibit together was like combining my two loves: design and ancient history. Research into my display was also quite the eye-opener, and through hands-on experience with the coins I learned a lot. I also learned some important curatorial skills in regards to the public. I had to consider what would catch people’s interest and show them that this collection was not just ‘a bunch of old coins’ but something fascinating and historically important. I doing this I improved my skills in writing labels that would be accessible to everyone, keeping in mind that many visitors’ first language would not be English.
I was later able to apply these newly-acquired skills to my next and last project: my Tuesday Timetable. Tuesday Timetables, the fancy alliterated name for the Bath’s weekly handling tables, each have their own theme depending on the person running them. For my table I chose ‘Tools and Weapons’ since I feel this category would really catch the attention of children and adults alike. My hypothesis proved correct as during the table families crowded around and examined all the different artefacts (especially the hand-axe – with its size and weight it was a really fun object to pick up).
In all, my time at the Baths is something I won’t forget. Though this sounds cliché there is no other way to say it without sounding pretentious. This was my first opportunity to work in a museum and gain first hand experience and I will always look back on these few five weeks for the rest of my career. Who knows where I will be in five years?