Flora Scott at the British Museum, Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas – summer 2017

Flora_Scott_1My summer placement at the British Museum introduced me to the day to day running of an incredibly diverse and busy museum. Working in all three subsections of the Africa, Oceania and Americas department meant I was involved with projects running across the entire Department. I had the chance to scan and catalogue photographic collections, handle objects and build permanent storage spaces for them, and more generally learn about collection management and its complexities.

I also was involved with a project in collaboration with Google, called the Google Maya Project, which is ongoing at the museum for the next couple of years. The project aims to produce an immersive virtual reality environment out of a collection of casts and photographs made by the archaeologist Alfred Maudslay at Mayan sites across South America in the late nineteenth century. I created a database that allowed curators to locate photographic negatives and photographic prints in the collection and link them to locations in Guatemala, and reference where the photographs had been originally published.

My time at the museum introduced me to a multitude of fascinating collections I had not previously encountered. It offered me an invaluable insight in to what museums do and how what we learn at UCU is enacted in institutions across the world, thereby enriching the research I may go on to do for my bachelors thesis.