Friday, 22 March 2013

Ten weeks work well done

This week, we hear from our hard-working interns, Charlotte and Fiona, about all the wonderful work they have been doing over the last 10 weeks. We'll certainly miss them:

Alas blog readers, this is our final joint blog for the LHSA. We’ve both had a tremendous time here. We have worked on very interesting projects and met some wonderful people. In this blog, we will tell you what we have achieved and what we have enjoyed in the past, very quick, 10 weeks.


Since our last blog entry, I feel like the project has really taken off. There has been a lot going on in the studio, and it has been really exciting to see finished items building up. From research and speaking to other conservators I decided the most appropriate treatment for making the parchment title deeds more accessible was to flatten them using only the moisture in the environment rather than introducing any to the parchment. I have been trying different methods to see which is the most successful including pressing with boards, weights used locally and more unusually…with magnets! While the selected title deeds have been flattening I have been able to do other treatments. Iron gall ink was identified when testing several of the paper documents which influenced treatment greatly. Documents were dry pressed and tear repairs were carried out using Gelatine (grade B) due to its potential to suppress the ink from corroding the paper.

Taking over the studio using weights and magnets to press creases

 Parchment before pressing

...and after

An important aspect of the project has been to create appropriate storage for the material. I have been making enclosures that give extra support to the parchment items, which will include protection for vulnerable seals. Something I am developing at the moment is a method of opening folded parchment items safely and securing them while viewing.

Folders were created with Velcro patches to secure title deeds

Alongside practical work I have had the opportunity to develop skills in other areas. A couple of weeks ago I prepared a training day for four students who were interested in potentially studying conservation. The session included the introduction to conservation principles practical activities. It was fantastic to get the chance to do this, I enjoyed the day greatly and the students did really well.


Training day participants with their beautiful folders!

I can’t believe it is our final week next week. It will be a busy busy week as I still have plenty I would like to do. I have learnt so much from this internship and will greatly miss the project and especially the team here!


In my last blog I had begun creating the catalogue on Access. This is going well now and I’m picking up the pace with more and more entries. I now have the whole of the Edinburgh Dental Hospital and School, the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and most of the Bangour Hospital photographs catalogued. In regards to the rehousing, you can see the photographs for yourself. Below you can see the before and after of the re-housing of some of the dental hospital and, photographed just this morning, the whole Dental Hospital photograph collection re-housed.

The photographic collection... after (l) and before rehousing (r)

Completed Dental Hospital photo collection, re-organised, re-housed, re-labelled and ready to go!

These past 10 weeks have been a great experience for me and I have learnt a lot from it. I have learnt how to archive whole collections, learnt about disaster management and basic conservation techniques. I have also visited some grand buildings and attended interesting lectures. For me, this internship has been, and will be, extremely useful for my future, I can only hope that the work I have done here will be of benefit to the LHSA.

As with my previous blogs, I will finish it with a photograph. Some of you may recognise this one from the Facebook page, but now it’s going up on the blog because after 10 weeks of going through over 4000 images, this one is still my favourite.

Doctors hard at work

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