A Student Experience!
Each year, Shropshire Archives hosts a number of student placements. Recently we’ve welcomed students from the University Centre, Shrewsbury and the blog below comes from their experience here.
Who are we?
We are Jodie and Zoe.
We are currently second year History students at the University Centre Shrewsbury.
We have undertaken a one-month placement at the Shropshire Archives in Shrewsbury, and would love to share our experience with you!
What you give
If you are passionate about History & Heritage, and want to be play an active role in its preservation, being a student volunteer at Shropshire Archives is a great opportunity. Remember, you are a volunteer! You can give as much or as little time as you can to help out, every little helps.
What you get
As a student volunteer at Shropshire Archives, you get invaluable hands-on experience behind the scenes with one of the most important historical resources.
You will learn new skills like; palaeography, interpretation, conservation and cataloguing.
You will gain experience using professional software such as the CALM Database.
You will work with a team of knowledgeable professionals, and get your name out there.
You will improve your employability through the acquisition of a broad skill-set and volunteer experience.
What you’ll do
Day one is dedicated to your welcome and orientation to the Archives. You will be introduced to the key team members and given a tour of the building. It might feel a little overwhelming at first, but everyone is friendly and will be happy to help you out and point you in the right direction.
Now for the fun bit – a project! Your manager/mentor will set you up with a project and instruct you on how to complete it. Full guidance and assistance is provided throughout the placement. You’ll handle real historical documents, interpreting the content, recording and cataloguing as you go. You never know what you might find!
- Day-to-Day life
- Love affairs
What we did
During our time at Shropshire Archives we were involved with several projects including the Shropshire Asylum Medical Records, the Mytton family letters, and the Attingham Estate correspondence, passports and diaries. These records dated from as early as the 1700’s to the 1900’s.
We got to handle unique and delicate eighteenth century wax seals.
We found invoices from historical local businesses such as wine merchants and drapers.
We tried our hand at transcribing letters using the palaeography skills we’d learnt during our time here.
We discovered local links with the founders of Barclay’s Bank, David Barclay and Samuel Lloyd.
We attempted to crack a secret numerical code uncovered in one of the Attingham letters (with little success)!
We got a first-hand glimpse at Shropshire life spanning the French Revolution and two World Wars.
We saw historical collections not touched in hundreds of years and discovered unique dissertation resources not available anywhere else
Wrapping it up
As budding historians, we found this to be a great experience. If you are a history student looking to build your professional portfolio, broaden your skill-set, improve your future employability or simply contribute to the preservation of unique and priceless historical documents and artefacts, then we definitely recommend popping over and saying hi.
Why not introduce yourself and ask some questions, get to know your local Archivist and perhaps even offer your time as a volunteer! Even if you can’t donate any free time, you’ll discover a treasure trove of information for use during your studies and gain access to primary sources that far outstrip the limited interpretations available from online material and library books.