Re: [Ancientartifacts] Guidelines for Responsible Collectors


---- wrote:

> Your right, working in a museum would be a great way to get that kind of
> knowledge, but do they let people just volunteer?

In Oz they do. That's how my ex got her career as a museum professional started, doing volunteer work on the Social History collection at the Powerhouse Museum.

> Would seem a great way to have some valuable items stolen if you let
> just anyone into the back rooms.

If other museums are anything like the Powerhouse/Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences was, curatorial staff had to go through Registration to access the stored collections (where I worked). Paper trail, you see. Don't worry, they guard their collections passionately.

Having said that a rare 17th century harpischord simply vanished from a storage annex around the time I worked there. You don't just walk out with oner those under your arm! Security was tightened but I think they knew who took it.

> I live near a major university,

Which one?

> maybe I could volunteer to do some work for the Egyptology
> or Archaeology professors.

If they teach archaeology then they have references in their university libraries. I don't know if it works the same way where you are but here I can get a library card even though I'm not enrolled at the Uni. The only problem with that is taking out references that students may need for their assignments.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if they have a teaching collection and museum on campus. Uni of Sydney has the Nicolson Museum which we used all the time as students. A proportion of the inventory came from excavations carried out by the teaching staff. Funding wasn't great then so they just had a Director (one of our professors), a Curator and a Conservator.

I think they would have jumped at the suggestion that someone come in and help with some of the time-consuming work of conservation. Ya know, sitting with a cotton bud and some chemical they used, working on an artefact for hours and hours.......I had friends in Conservation that loved doing that sort of thing. Mind you, they got pretty drunk nights though!

I also saw an example of a restoration on an egyptian artefact in another museum (that will remain nameless) while I was doing the rounds looking for XVIIIth Dynasty pottery. They had let a volunteer do their thing (from memory I think it was originally a canopic jar!). Not good. Best to be supervised. Ask to learn how to put an inventory number on an artefact. I never did. Should have.

> Not quite the same thing, but would still give me more knowledge in
> those subjects.

You never know. They'll probably give you something pretty tame to start with till they see what you're like. You know the correct way to pick up artefacts (or at least one of them)?

My advice? Find out if the Uni has an archaeological museum, make an appointment to talk to someone there about volunteering. And if you do do some work for them...don't start saying things like "I bet this one's worth a bit". They generally don't think about artefacts that way and would probably find a comment like that offensive.



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