venerdì 29 agosto 2014

Training at the Archaeological Archive - day 1

Wednesday 22nd of January I started my training as Family and School volunteer at the Archaeological Archive of London (LAARC), I wrote this post in Italian some time ago, but I have translated it in English just now. Enjoy!

Trovate la versione in italiano di questo vecchio post QUI.

It had been a very intensive first day, learning basic information about volunteering it's not so hard, but first of all I had to understand every thing our mentors told us and in order to do that I had to strain my mind a lot.
In the morning the main activity was filling forms and introducing ourselves to the others volunteers. We also collected a lot of sheets about London's museums and volunteering that I would have to study for the upcoming week.

The "real" training began in the afternoon when two of the archaeologists that work in the archive showed us how to handle the artifacts. I'm personally a little anxious thinking about "handling artifacts" with 30 children attending primary school or families with children under 5 years old. It must be hard to manage children and 2000 years old artifacts at the same time!
The archaeologists said "Don't worries if something breaks up during the session, stay calm and call a supervisor. Don't freak out and try to keep all the pieces together"( Tip: sealing off the scene with a tape like on CSI).
Ok, thinking about "it could happen" doesn't help me so much, but at least I'm trained about what to do if...

Moving over these scary thoughts, here are some precious tips about handling artifacts:
- Before lifting an object from a location to another, make sure your route it's completely clear. Nothing between you and your artifact!
- Before moving your artifact, set up new location using a tray covered with foam sheet. It's always useful to lay the object on a soft surface.
-Wearing comfortable clothes, they must not get stuck into the artifacts or restrict your movement... well, this is very hard: during winter the Archive is cold like a freezer, and we used to wearing coat or heavy clothes.
-Lifting the objects with both of yours hands, picking up them in the lower part. NEVER lifting them by the handles or protruding parts.
-If there are some cracks, it's best to hold the object by putting an hand just in the middle of the crack.
-If there are decoration traces, you should hold the object so that you avoid touching that part if it is possible.

Then there are objects to be held only while wearing gloves, like metal items that can be damaged by the natural oil of our skin. There are at least five kinds of gloves that you can use:latex thin or thick type, cloth, rubber, and silk.
Some objects lay in transparent plastic boxes, so there is no reason to get them out (just: don't do it!)

So far, everything seems simple and logical. But there are objects laying in boxes without any protection. In this case you have to re-pack them safely making some soft tissue paper cushions. How can you do that? The best way you can do that is something actually very tricky to explain and to do. I have tried to explain it visually through a sketch (don't worry if it is still incomprehensible, it's just a way for me to remember what I have learned).
1) Pick up a corner of your tissue paper and put it in front of your chest.
2) Put the other hand  in front of the paper. the back of your hand must be facing the paper (and your chest).
3) Bring the first corner you are holding to the hand facing the paper.
4) Bring the lateral corner to the hand facing the paper.
5) Turn the wrist of the hand that is holding the two corners. Now you have the palm of your hand facing your chest.
6) Take the others corners and gently crumple them in the hand facing the chest.
Now you should have a sort of cloud shaped cushion ready to safely keep the object laying in their box. You have done, good job! Well... "almost": the first time you try to make that, it will probably come out looking quite ugly. But don't worry, keep trying!

Coming back to the training at the Archive, the archaeologists brought us to visit a super-wonderful place! No: it wasn't a chocolate factory, but in my opinion it has quite the same value. It was the glass and ceramics area: so many display windows full of hundreds of: glasses, china, bowls, vases, jars, cups, statues, decoration and more.
When I saw this area I just wanted to say: "Please, let me in here and lock the door forever. Don't mind about me. I'll die happy counting the countless shades of this rainbow jug"
Unfortunately, I do have a sense of decency (hard to believe but it's true!), and I decided to follow the group to the exit. I didn't even cry: so proud of my self!

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to study something about British royal dynasties... (so many things I know so little about!)

4 commenti:

  1. Non so perché mi ero perso questo post in italiano, ma in ambo le lingue non ho capito come impacchettare e credo che farei un casino D:

    1. Non ti preoccupare, non l'ha capito nessuno se non chi l'ha fatto davvero al museo ;-D

  2. Risposte
    1. Sto proseguendo con un nuovo training e organizzando le attività per le nuove sessioni. Nuovi argomenti e anche nuovi volontari (che ancora non conosco)!
      Devo raccontare ancora un po' di cose che ho lasciato indietro da questa estate, ma intanto sto traducendo le puntate vecchie per chi legge in inglese...
      abbiate pazienza, ci metterò un po'! ;-)


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