Wednesday, 21 December 2022

The life of a MoDiP volunteer.

We are very lucky to have a volunteer join us every Wednesday morning. Her name is Maxine and she retired from working at the AUB Library a few years ago. Wanting to contribute something back, she very kindly volunteered her services to the museum in 2020 and has been a member of the team ever since.

Maxine has been involved in all aspects of museum work, starting with organising the MoDiP Library. She stamped the books for us and gave each one a unique museum number so that we could set up a searchable catalogue record to go on our object database and website. In the image below, she is carefully writing the number in a conservation grade pencil and the MoDiP stamp can be seen, bottom, centre. The books are not security tagged so they are not available for open access, but they can be viewed in the museum, on request.

Accessioning the MoDiP library.
Image credit: Katherine Pell

After that job was finished, she began helping us with our ongoing Collections Review programme. We are assessing each of our objects to ensure that they continue to offer relevance to the work of the museum. Firstly, we are looking at whether the objects contain plastics content or context, as there are a number that were collected prior to 2007 when the museum changed its focus to become MoDiP. Maxine has helped locate objects, make assessment referrals, deaccession items and pack up objects to send them on to new homes within other museum collections across the UK.

In the summer of 2021, MoDiP took receipt of a legacy of casein objects that we will be jointly caring for alongside the Plastics Historical Society. The objects arrived in a muddle of boxes that all needed to be organised so that we could make sense of what had been gifted. Maxine stepped forward and spent several weeks carefully unwrapping each piece, documenting and photographing it before re-storing the collection into a MoDiP box with acid-free tissue paper. Later this year we will begin the process of accessioning everything so that we can start to put some of these beautiful objects out on display.

Documenting the casein objects.
Image credit: Katherine Pell

One of Maxine’s most recent tasks has been helping us to treat the Worshipful Company of Horner’s collection with neatsfoot oil. This is a conditioning treatment that prevents the horn from drying out and in the image below, she can be seen applying a small amount of the compound via a cotton swab. With over 600 items to examine, it will still be a few months before this project is completed!

Cleaning the collection of horn.
Image credit: Katherine Pell

We are very grateful to Maxine for all of her hard work and would like to say a very big thank you to her and all of the people that have kindly offered their time and skills to the museum over the years.

Katherine Pell
Collections Officer.

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