… Ryan agreed his ‘volunteer job title’ : CSI Runner ! Ryan has been helping off and on since we first started fitting out the shop. This week he visited the library for us to see if they can locate Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England, by Penelope Walton Rogers (out of print and very expensive on Amazon !). Ryan also initiated discussions with the library about us having a display there. He is a good lad.
… Sittingbourne Library Manager visited us to discuss ordering Anglo-Saxon books and creating a reading shelf to go with our display.
… Susan brought in great hangers and displayed our fundraising T-shirts – she also offered to do readings at the library when we set up our CSI / library collaborations.
… West Dean student Scarlett emailed me a wonderful pg. reference from Theophilus, a 12th century artist who wrote about his crafts – polishing niello with ear-wax… wonderful !!!
Busy week. Speaking of West Dean, be sure to have a look at the West Dean College Conservation Blog which is being updated regularly by students from the college.
…a woman who could neither read/write or tell left from right but delighted in seeing what we were doing and discussing lots of our displays and microscope work, because “one never knows what there is to discover !! “
… a teenager’s community carer/enabler and his charge stumbled upon us and spent quite a while discussing our lady with a crystal ball and what is going on at CSI: Sittingbourne.
… a woman who didn’t like dark places but was lured in by our lino-print T-shirts in window, she wants to buy for her sons – and then enjoyed chatting to Janet about the object and X-ray at her microscope.
… newish volunteer Catherine got lots of experience talking about her work with a knife with a buckle x-ray and evidence for horn handle, surviving in an iridescent stripped layer on the tang.
… Interesting discussion about knives with two young men who upon seeing ‘our lady with a crystal ball’s 2 knives commented on how “easy it was to go around stabbing people back then”… Lisa and Debbie explained that the knives were not weapons, but everyday items for food and work, “a bit like most everyone today caries a mobile phone”.
… a surveyor came in to measure our spaces for the landlord - eek ! (we just asked for another year’s free rent… hope Tesco is happy to keep supporting us !)
… a grandmother made a pre-arranged visit with her young grand daughter, who loves to collect fossils and interesting things from her garden and walks… both looked down the microscope at a knife with MPO sheath and a bug pupa – the little girl wrote down notes about her visit so she wouldn’t forget.
…Resident artist Rob working on our popular book in the background and sketching some of these scenes – we’ll post some of his finished pieces soon.
Good times. Don’t forget to check our Facebook page for regular updates and more pictures.
Filed under: Home
The CSI lab is currently open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. We are now finishing off the last items from the first half of the cemetary and hoping to start the other half if our fundraising is successful. Please come along to see how we’re getting on and spread the word!
Filed under: Home
Filed under: People
Just a quick post to let you all know about an interesting blog called, ‘Will Work For Free‘.
“I created this in order to share with the world my passion for nonprofits and volunteerism. Here you can find personal anecdotes from my volunteer work, ways that millennials and others can get more involved, and my thoughts on nonprofit current events.
I hope that those who read this blog become inspired, informed, or at least interested when it comes to nonprofit work.”
The site has a lot of interesting stuff about volunteer projects, working with volunteers, information about volunteering, the authors experiences and much more. It’s well worth having a good look if you have the time.
CSI: Sittingbourne has partnered with Vinspired, the local arm of the national youth volunteering scheme, and is offering full and part time volunteer placements for a lab assistant and fund-raiser/market developer. If we’re able to get help in these areas we should be able to re-open, and keep open, the lab and exhibition for the remainder of the lease meaning we may be able to complete the rest of the site. As well as these benefits, Vinspired can also backdate and give future certificates and national recognition to all our 16-25 year old volunteers, which helps them with their CVs and job applications in these difficult times.
For more information about opportunities with CSI: Sittingbourne, and other projects, please take the time to visit the Vinspired website.
Filed under: events
As promised last week here is a short review on the small conference held at the Cynon Valley Museum and Gallery. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures as was sat right at the front and was listening intently to everyone (honest…), but I did manage to steal one picture from Nigel Blackamore’s Twitter (also a nice comment about CSI: too, thanks!).
Throughout the day there were 7 presentations in total from a range of speakers, including private and museum conservators, students and consultants. The theme of the talks centred around ‘added value’ in conservation. Hopefully I can remember some bits from each of these…
Place and Chips: reconstructing a sketchbook – but how do we display it? – Emily O’Reilly, National Museum Wales
The first talk of the day was from Emily O’Reilly of National Museum Wales (NMW). The talk concerned sketches drawn by the artist Francis Place on a trip to Wales, their conservation, and the transfer of the drawings to a digital database.
Place and chips – get it?
Place = fish
Chips = computer chips
She’s here all week! The presentation was very interesting and it was good to see the research involved in working on such objects. The images will be put on Rhagor, the NMW website for collections and the stories behind them, in the near future, if they’re not already on there – well worth having a look.
A Very Odd Dice: Reconstructing a Roman Bone Dice – David Pearson, Cardiff University
Second up was David Pearson, a recent graduate from the BSc conservation course at Cardiff. He was speaking about a Roman bone dice he conserved and the challenges he faced when working on the object.
The dice had come from the Newport Museum and had been subject to extensive damage when ‘yoofs’ had interfered with the display case a few years ago. David’s job was to readhere and gap-fill the dice, but he faced a number of dilemmas in the choice of materials. The presentation showed his thought process and testing methods for deciding on the materials to be used. Perhaps a conservation first, he did NOT use Paraloid B-72!
Why the title? The faces of the dice that were complete were the odd faces.
The Dilemmas of a Book Conservator – Juliet Clay, Private Conservator and Cardiff University
The presentation from Juliet Clay showed the numerous dilemmas that a book conservator faces. She used examples from her own work as a freelance conservator to talk about the traditional techniques that she uses and the types of damage encountered when conserving old books. It was interesting to hear the conservators approach in relation to what the client desires.
CSI: Sittingbourne - The Value of Volunteers – Courtney Buxey-Brown, Cardiff University
At midday it was me. I shan’t go into details about the talk a great deal, as all the information can be found on this blog, but I spoke about how using volunteers can enhance what can be achieved when working on objects of this nature and the potential benefits of such projects to conservation in the future. I also went into the impact that the project has had within the local community and the range of extra opportunities that we can get with projects of this kind.
Overall, I think it went alright (…enthusiastic as usual you’ll see!). The talk was well received and the response was really positive. Hopefully I managed to give everyone credit and show how successful everything has been over the past 16 months. I dressed up all smart as well, what a good boy.
Lunch is worthy of a mention here – everyone seems to bang on about how good the food is at the Cynon Valley Museum is and I can confirm that it did live up to the hype. Worth a visit for this, and there’s a good social history collection there as well!
Conservators, Artists, Damage and Value – Peter David, Ceramics Conservator
I’ve heard Peter David speak previously about a slipware plate that he conserved, something that was really interesting. This presentation was no different. He talked about the values placed on different objects and demonstrated how the significance of the same object can be altered by a range of factors and over a period of time. The presentation gave no answers, as he said himself, but it highlighted a number of questions that conservators should be asking in the future where more modern objects are concerned.
CyMAL’s Significance Model for Assessing Collections – Sarah Paul, CyMAL
Sarah spoke of the proposed plans for introducing a significance model for museum collections in Wales. The aim is not to focus basing significance solely on what an object is worth in monetary terms, but rather on its cultural significance and value to the public. Some museums have already adopted strategies like this, but this guideline will perhaps aid other museums in the future.
Another step towards professionalism? Conservation Standards – David Leigh, Consultant
David Leigh spoke about the value of developing standards in conservation. It’s been a subject that seems to have been developed a lot more over the last few years within the profession and it is something that will surely help and make the profession more organised and allow us to work towards similar goals. The subject is going to be more relevant in the years to come so it is worthwhile subject, even if it isn’t the most interesting.
Overall, the day was really well organised and the range of topics was really interesting. The museum, and Heather Perry, organised a good day - the conference was professional, but at the same time relaxed. The museum is well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area as well. As my first conference where I have spoken, it was a nice one to start at and I’m pleased, and maybe quite surprised, that it went so smoothly. Thanks to Dana and everyone else involved with CSI: so far and Happy Christmas!