LHSA runs a flourishing volunteer programme which allows us to give people the chance to gain some valuable experience of working in an Archive whilst also providing us with the opportunity to complete small cataloguing and rehousing projects. Demand for volunteer placements with us is high; competition for places on archive courses is fierce and applicants with experience of working in an archive are more likely to be successful. At the moment we have one regular volunteer, but unfortunately we’re unable to accommodate everyone who applies. We put our heads together to think of a way in which we could help some more prospective archive students. The solution we came up with has been trialled for the first time this week: a one day volunteer programme or ‘mini work experience placement’!
Claire Kirkpatrick spent the day with us in the Archive, experiencing a variety of archival and conservation tasks. The day started with an introduction to LHSA and a tour of the stores. This was swiftly followed by training on enquiries; LHSA receives about 600 remote enquiries a year and Claire was shown how we conduct research in order to answer them and then was able to have a go herself.
Claire conducting some research into a Haddington District Board of Lunacy Report
After some training from our Paper Conservator on how to handle and store photographs, Claire re-housed a collection of 27 photos and slides from Lothian Health Board. In the afternoon, Claire enjoyed a tour of the Digital Imaging Unit before being shown how to catalogue the photos she had re-housed in the morning.
The day was very successful for LHSA in that another small piece of cataloguing has been completed; it was also very useful for Claire who said “I wasn’t sure what to expect but it turned out to be a very hands-on, interactive taster session and I gained valuable knowledge on the basics of cataloguing and dealing with enquiries. Being able to chat to staff about how they got into archiving was also really very helpful.” We’re glad Claire found it so useful and hope to be able to offer another one day volunteer programme in the near future.
If you'd be interested in volunteering at LHSA, please contact us