My experiences as an Intern in the Wellcome Library…

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By | The Researcher’s View


 Early Printed Books in strong room. Wellcome Images No. L0017437

Early Printed Books in strong room. Wellcome Images No. L0017437

8 weeks, 80 train journeys and countless cups of tea later, my internship is coming to an end. My experience in the Library has certainly been full of surprises! Even on the first day, I was simply amazed that I had so many appointments planned on my Outlook Calendar. Having never used Outlook before, the prospect of a calendar which would send you reminders of your daily tasks was perfect for me – someone who can’t remember anything unless it’s written down. Even having my own computer and phone in an office was so unexpected (I’m not quite sure where I thought I would be working, but I definitely did not envisage having my own desk!). This excitement has certainly continued throughout my time in the Wellcome Library as a Library Liaison Exhibition Intern as I have been involved in a huge variety of work.

In the first week I observed the packing of items for a loan ready to be couriered to Dresden. I travelled in a lorry across London to transport this material going on loan to a warehouse (I hasten to add, I was merely a passenger) but it was certainly exciting all the same! I have also travelled to Leicester, to observe an exhibition of AIDS reproduction posters being installed at the New Walk Gallery. This was certainly one of my favourite days of the internship, as it was a great insight into the amount of work that is involved in collating and installing an exhibition. I travelled in a lorry for a second time, to pick up two paintings which had been sent to two external conservators for repair. I had a peek into a world of conservation and studios which was quite incredible. (I think that everybody who I’ve spoken to thinks that I’ve spent most of my time getting to know lorry drivers!) Aside from this, I have been able to observe the work of conservation and received disaster training and basic collection care training, certainly enhancing my knowledge of the paramount importance of conservation. The tour of the library was great and I will certainly be coming back to use it for my dissertation work.

Histoires Prodigieuses Wellcome Images No. C0020698.

Histoires Prodigieuses
                                            Wellcome Images No. C0020698.

Of course, I have also spent some time sitting at my desk, carrying out a range of administrative tasks; these have taught me a lot about the collection housed by the Wellcome Library. I have been developing new policy documents in order to help with the loans process; including new courier guidelines, a revised loans contract, a crate and packing specification and an exhibition display document. I have also familiarised myself with the Medicine Man gallery and have done some research into alternative ways to display the material in the gallery’s planchest.

Rather than list everything that I have done in the past 8 weeks, which I’m not sure would make a terribly interesting read, I thought I would mention some of the things which I found most enjoyable since starting here. I have met some great people and have learned so much. I guess all I can say now, is a HUGE thank you to everybody at the Wellcome Trust, in particular in the Wellcome Library and Conservation for making my internship such a brilliant experience.

Author: Alice Calloway

Alice was a Summer Intern at the Wellcome Trust

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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