“My experience”, by Emily from Highfields School

You may remember that back in July, the Record Office hosted Will for a two week work placement. We also were pleased to welcome Emily for two weeks from the end of June. Here she tells us about her experience

For my work experience, I knew that I wanted to go to somewhere that focuses on history. I had previously done 1 week in January at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent but, I prefer more recent history, particularly anything from the beginning of the 19th century onwards until now, this is why I decided to go to the Derbyshire Record Office for a fortnight.

During my two weeks I have undertaken work from both the Archives and the Local Studies sides of the Record Office. In the first week, I learnt how the public aspects of Local Studies works, shadowing both the Floor Walking and the Enquiry Desk, and also the public aspects of the archives, shadowing the Issue Desk and also looking at searches and helping with enquiries. I learnt how Lien and Clare preserve and clean documents in conservation and I was also shown how digitisation works. I was introduced to the cataloguing system for the archives but then I was set the task of preparing activities for the Reading Challenge that took place in the summer.

In my second week I was adding hanging strips to maps, adding information about documents onto CALM (the cataloguing system) and adding copies of documents onto CDs. I also was looking at documents that haven’t yet been catalogued, to see what kind of information they contained, and researched what Chapel-en-le-Frith was like in the 1900s, for an introduction to history for the new year sevens at the secondary school (in Chapel-en-le-Frith), in September.

During the course of my placement, I was also shown what some jobs entail as a profession, for example Librarianship, Records Management and Archives, this was extremely helpful, as I was shown exactly what each job is, and the daily requirements of these jobs.

I have really enjoyed my placement at the Derbyshire Record Office; this is because I was shown a vast range of all the jobs there, and as there are so many aspects and jobs, I was never short of something to do. I particularly enjoyed helping with the enquiries that came through, as it was really interesting to look through the documents, even if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for. I also really enjoyed helping to clean some of the documents that had recently come in because you can see how much of a difference it makes, and it was really interesting to see how documents are washed and repaired. These are just a couple of my highlights of the fortnight, and I enjoyed almost all of the work that I was given.

Overall it was a great experience and has given me a lot to think about, as I barely knew about half of the jobs that take place here.

Before and After photographs of one the documents Emily cleaned during her day with Conservation 

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