Friday, 17 August 2012

Volunteer is our own 'small blessing'

This week, a chat with our project collections volunteer, Kristyn Maguire.

Where are you from Kristyn?
Australia, but currently living in Oxford.

Why did you volunteer at the PRM? 
I was interested in the Wellcome collection of amulets and saw the job vacancies for the ‘Small Blessings’ project when I was in Canada. I'd already decided to study in Oxford (MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology) so I thought that if I could still be involved with the project in some capacity I could find out more about the development of belief systems and ritualistic behaviours by getting to see a wide range of amulets and objects from different cultures around the world.

What have you been doing at the Museum?
I’ve been volunteering up to two days a week for several months, trying to fit it around my working life. I’ve been assisting with the project documentation process. The cataloguers Alice and Rosanna take a photograph of every amulet (several thousand of them) and I’ve been optimising these in Photoshop - cropping, colour correcting and so on. I’ve been double-checking the file names to match the images to the records so people access the right image when they’re browsing the online database. I’ve also been transcribing some of the collector’s original catalogue entries into the database - again, so all the information is stored together.

What have you enjoyed most about being here?
I really like the Museum – it’s unique. It’s been fascinating going behind the scenes. I worked for almost two years in the museums sector in Canada so it’s been nice to build on my experience by continuing here in the UK where it’s so hard to break into the industry.

What will you do next?
I start my Masters course in October, part-time for two years. I then hope to do a PhD. I will be in Oxford for a while so I’d be open to any further voluntary opportunities here at the Pitt Rivers!

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