This week’s blog comes from Helen Baguley, the newest member of the conservation team…
I have been recently employed by the University of Edinburgh on a 12-month contract as a Projects Conservator. This exciting and varied role means I am predominantly located in the University Collections Facility (UCF), and off-site storage building in South Gyle. I will be working within the rationalisation project, looking at the collections which are currently housed there, such as rare books and university archives. I will also be assisting the musical instrument conservator and art department in their work. This will consist of carrying out conservation work and supervising volunteers under the direction of the Preventive Conservator, Katharine Richardson.
Before coming to Edinburgh, I had recently finished an MSc in Conservation Practice at Cardiff University and where I learnt the theoretic principles of interventive and preventive conservation work as well a mix of practical and research skills encompassing aesthetics, ethics, science and project management. During the course I was able to research and conserve a variety of objects, both organic and inorganic.
Whilst working towards the final year of my MSc, I completed a 12-month Icon internship at the National Museum of Wales, St. Fagans, where I learnt how to care for the musical instruments within the collection, under the supervision of Emyr Davies ACR. I was also fortunate enough to be included in meetings discussing all of the projects the department was involved in. This allowed me to experience a versatile museum environment, consisting of different environments such as galleries, open-air houses and storage areas. I benefited from an unique experience to witness in a holistic way the variety of musical instruments in heritage collections, while gaining experience of ethical issues involved in their care, conservation and restoration.
I will be blogging about the UCF rationalisation project over the coming year, so keep an eye out for updates!