Internship Opportunities

Would you like to gain experience of working in museums and archives or know someone who would?

The 'Ayes' have it The National Union of Agricultural Workers conference

Yes? The Reading Connections project team are looking for three enthusiastic people to join them as interns this summer so you’ve come to the right blog!

One post will be based at Reading Museum and offer training and supervision of  the handling of museum objects. The intern will be assisting with the selecting of images related to war from the collection under the direction of project staff and looking into the history behind the images using facilities in the museums and library.

Timing: To start 1st August 2013 for 9 weeks full time. Closing date: 1st July 2013. Total remuneration: £2,000

Another will be based at The Museum of English Rural Life and will provide the opportunity to be involved in many areas of the project and gain experience of a wide range of museum and archive activities. The tasks will include assisting with the selecting of images related to war from the collection under the direction of the project staff and looking into the history behind the images. There will also be opportunities to be involved in several other areas of the project.

Timing: To start 1st August 2013 for 9 weeks full time. Closing date: 1st July 2013. Total remuneration: £2,000

The third intern will support the research of Dr Teresa Murjas  Senior Lecturer in Theatre & Performance at the University of Reading on a collaboration with MERL and Reading Museum. They will be looking for information from within the Evacuee Archive held at the Museum of English Rural Life under the guidance of Dr Murjas and the archive staff. The intern will record and file details of the information retrieved from the archive and assist Dr Murjas in the use of the material in a performance to be staged in the Spring/Summer of 2014.

Timing: To start 16th September  2013 for 8 weeks full time. Closing date: 1st August 2013. Total remuneration: £2,000

The interns will work with many members of the project team but also carry out some tasks independently so they must be motivated and keen to learn new skills. The tasks undertaken will provide excellent experience of handling and caring for museum and archive collections, engaging the community through collections and cataloguing and digitising records. Induction and any training required will be provided by project staff.

For more information and an application form please contact: Zoe Watson, Project Manager.  z.l.watson@reading.ac.uk or call 0118 378 8670

Digitising MERL’s Local Photographic Collections

Written by Danielle Mills, Digitisation/Data Officer for Reading Connections.

Local photography is one of the themes of the Reading Connections project and a large part of my role is to digitise and catalogue some of MERL’s local photographic collections. We are making these images available to view online via our catalogue Adlib to increase accessibility to these wonderful resources for local history.

I am currently digitising the Collier Collection. Phillip Osborne Collier (1881-1979) was a commercial photographer and postcard publisher working in Reading from around 1905. The collection consists of approximately 6000 glass plate negatives showing Berkshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire from 1905 to the 1960s.

The collection is split into three sections, early (1905-mid1930s), late (mid1930s-1960s) and miscellaneous plates (1905-1960s). I have scanned and catalogued the early Reading plates (P DX323 PH1/E150) and I am now making my way through the early series alphabetically by place name, from Abingdon to Yattendon. Whilst scanning Ascot negatives I noticed an image of the racecourse dated 1911-1912, and as Royal Ascot is this week I thought I’d share it!

 

 

Ascot Racecourse, 1911-1912 (P DX323 PH1/E6/10)

Ascot Racecourse, 1911-1912 (P DX323 PH1/E6/10)

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Enlarged section of the image above to show spectators and police officers in more detail

Whether it’s a 1905 snapshot of the road that I drive down to work everyday, the beautiful architecture of churches and buildings in Reading, or people in Berkshire caught in front of the camera lens whilst going about their lives, each day I am coming across amazing images and I hope to share more of these with you over the coming year.

The Evacuee Archive

From the album of Rosemary Maud Goddin, a teacher evacuated with her school to Gamlingay, Cambs

From the album of Rosemary Maud Goddin, a teacher evacuated with her school to Gamlingay, Cambs

Zoe Watson, Archivist and Project Manager:

I’m working on cataloguing the Evacuee Archive as part of the Reading Connection project.

It is a collection of memoirs, interviews and material relating to former evacuees and war-children gathered by the Research Centre for Evacuee and War Child Studies at the University of Reading.  The collection mainly relates to evacuation schemes within Britain and the British children who were sent overseas to Canada, the USA, South Africa, and Australasia during the Second World War.

The British Government scheme to evacuate children from cities started in September 1939.  Children, usually without their parents, were sent to areas of Britain that were considered safer from bombing and the effects of war, these were often rural areas.  Smaller numbers of children were sent abroad.  They were housed with strangers, some of whom were reluctant to take them.  Some children did go in private arrangements to friends and relatives, and some went with a parent.  Children received varying levels of treatment from these ‘foster parents’ and some children were kept in groups in hostel-like conditions.  Stories in the archive range from the heart-warming where the kindness of the hosts meant that the children’s new lives in the countryside were as happy as they could be in the circumstances to heart-breaking cases of mistreatment and cruelty. The length of stays varied from weeks to years, and often evacuees had to move billets.

 It is an interesting and thought provoking collection.  I came across this interview with a former evacuee; he was interviewed in the late 1990s and shows the effect on him all those years later.  He was evacuated from West Ham, London to Hemel Hempstead:

‘I recently visited the Imperial War Museum, well one of the lectures was on the psychological aspects of evacuation.  I certainly do not have any bad memories of that time but it has left me with one curious feeling.  All the time I was evacuated I used to tell myself that one day the war would be over and I could go back home.

After the war we were living in another part of London and then I made my way to where I used to live.  The whole area had been completely obliterated in the first few days of the Blitz.  I was quite unable to find the spot where my house once stood.

This happened more than 50 years ago.  I have lived in many other places.  I now have a grown up family of my own, I am a grandfather.  I have a lovely house but somehow I am still waiting to go home.’

Please note the collection is currently closed for cataloguing.  Contact us if you would like more information.