Once a fortnight for the past two years I have been conserving 550 sheets of paper belonging to the Carmichael Watson Collection. These date from the late 1800s to the early 1900s and are all mostly in Gaelic, written by the scholar Alexander Carmichael. Most of the sheets needed quite a lot of attention. The majority of them needed surface cleaning. This entailed using a chemical sponge and gentle use of an eraser. There were also sheets which had rust on them where metal paper clips had been attached. Rust was removed with the tip of a scalpel using magnifying glasses. Great care was needed so that only the damaged fibres were taken away. Tears were repaired using Japanese paper and wheat starch paste with the pages pressed to ensure the ‘glue’ had dried. Finally all the sheets were placed in acid-free folders and housed in a low-acid board box.
Some of the sheets had interesting watermarks on them and as an aside from the practical element of this paper conservation I decided to do a bit of investigation in my own time. Some of the watermarks originated from a papermaker in Glasgow. I found out that the United Wire factory which I live near created the wireworks used for making paper, so it is possible that some of the paper on which I had been working might have been created on wires made in this factory.
CRC Marketing Intern
I have been the summer Marketing Intern at the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) for the past two months. My task was to research and review the current marketing strategy of the department and to propose ways to improve it in order to further develop the CRC and to better promote the various impressive Collections it is home to.
I spent the initial two weeks of my internship to discovering the Collections and the hidden treasures, many of which I have never heard of before I came to the CRC. Subsequently, I researched the printed promotional material, as well as the online and social media presence of the department and started work on their improvement. My main aim was to raise the awareness for the existence and significance of the Collections; the target audience included all students and staff of the University, people who use the collections for their research purposes and the wider public.
After four weeks, I presented my suggestions to the department based my research of the current strategy of the CRC and the activities of other similar institutions. My presentation covered a broad range of topics and areas to be worked on in order to present and promote the CRC and the Collections in a more inspiring, exciting and remarkable way.
For the remainder of these two months, I worked on the implementation of my suggestions and succeeded to actually make some real changes and improvements. Many new and innovative ways to deliver our message to diverse groups are now utilised and there is significantly higher awareness of the department within the University.
My time at the CRC was very pleasant and fruitful and it contributed both to the growth of the department and my personal one. I feel I have gained valuable skills which will be highly beneficial for my future career development. Furthermore, I met great people and had the pleasure to work in a very positive and supportive environment.
Finally, I am more than happy to continue helping the CRC and am looking forward to coming back as a volunteer during term time.