West Midlands Headley Trust Intern, Emily. Part Two: The Internship

Object handling table at Hereford Museum Resource Centre

Becoming a Headley Trust intern with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) has taught me things that I had not anticipated. Whilst I had developed the basic skills necessary for the role whilst volunteering, I had not imaged working with the press a great deal (turns out when you have a piano of gold sovereigns reported to you, the press get excited) nor had I considered the need to create a network around yourself in order to share knowledge and work effectively within your host organisation.

My internship began during an interesting time in Shropshire. I arrived in Ludlow around the same time as the Shropshire Piano Hoard; 913 sovereigns and half sovereigns were found inside a piano by a tuner. This was not a usual Treasure case for the PAS as these coins were less than 300 years old and didn’t have to be dug up. However, the find came under Treasure Act so it was up to us and the Coroner to explore the case. The press loved it; we ended up on BBC and ITV news, in local and national papers, and Peter gave numerous radio interviews. It was crazy and something I have never experienced before and will probably never experience again.

 

Filming with BBC and ITV

In my new role I am both a volunteer and volunteer supervisor at Ludlow Museum Resource Centre; I have to be careful not to get my days confused! All of our volunteers (PASt Explorers) have different reasons for working with us and it has been great to have such a dynamic set of people. They are mostly local people (Ludlow being quite isolated as a town) so working with them has given me a sense of belonging to the community. On my volunteering days, I have been going through the numismatic collections held at the Resource Centre; there are a number of hoards and the Wroxeter collection, so for me it is very exciting! Rather than just looking at the pretty coins, I am actually working on a project to add additional interpretation to the museum database in the hopes that we can better understand the collection.

 

Writing notes about a coin display; Shropshire Treasure Trail leaflet

 

The Treasure 20 campaign for Shropshire is also something I have been working on, in partnership with the Graduate Curator Abigail Cox. Peter thought that we could create a treasure trail across the county, so we developed this focusing on the smaller museums, highlighting the Treasure that they have purchased through the Treasure Act. This of course necessitated a tour around all of these museums; it was a good excuse to go out and explore some beautiful collections! We developed a leaflet, keeping the design minimal and clean, identifying all the sites with Treasure. We also created social media pages on several platforms to post pictures and blogs to advertise our trail. Using social media in this way was completely new to me; although I already used social media in my everyday life, I wasn’t a frequent user.

Facebook: Shropshire Treasure Trail
Twitter: @ShropTreasure
Instagram: shroptreasure_trail

Finally, as part of the celebration, we have put together several displays in Ludlow Museum Resource Centre and The Buttercross Museum in the town. These showcase metal detectorist finds from the local area and demonstrate the array of artefacts that come through PAS.

 

Display of metal detectorist finds for Treasure 20 celebrations in Shropshire

All in all, I have been doing some amazing things as an intern and I hope to learn much more as I continue!