Ellen, the museum’s summer intern and student at the University of Aberdeen, tells us about her experience at the museum, highlighting some of her favourite objects she has been researching.
When applying for The Aberdeen University Museum Assistant Internship I had very little knowledge of King’s Museum (I didn’t even know where it was at first) or how museums were run in general. Being a history student, I’ve always had a keen interest in museums and what they can teach visitors. I’d never really thought about a career in museums, therefore, thought this internship would be a good opportunity to clarify if working in museums would be something I would be interested in.
Before starting my internship I had never really thought about the collections a museum has, how these objects are taken care of and how they are made accessible to the public. In King’s Museum, there is a whole team who looks after the museum’s collection and the objects within the collections are made accessible through schools workshops and events. My first job as Museum Assistant was to distinguish which items in the collections could be used for these events, the main event themes I have been focusing on are space, star gazing and astronomy. This meant I was let loose in the museum’s collection centre (after I was taught about object handling of course). I was blown away by the vast array and diversity of the objects. From Egyptian mummies to Asian antiquities to a stuffed Capercaillie, the museum’s collections have it all. Seeing all these amazing objects stuck in a basement made me realise why events are vital for ensuring that the public can see all the museum has even when they are not on display in an exhibition.
Once we had found the objects we were going to use, it was my job to research them and establish their background. The most fascinating pieces I came across were two meteorites from the Geology collection (see below). One of these meteorites (which is beautiful!) was found on a farm in Kansas, USA. The owner of the farm found so many meteorites she made loads of money selling them to professors of universities and geology and astronomy enthusiasts. The second meteorite fell in one of the biggest showers of all time in Poland in the 1800s. It amazes me how such a small museum came to attain objects of such significance and interesting backgrounds.