Tag Archives: student placement

Adventures in Digital

Hello, my name’s Rose and I’m a student at University College London, where I’m studying for an MA in Digital Humanities. As part of my course I spent ten weeks completing a placement at the BPMA, working with Martin, the Head of Digital, and Rachel, the Digital Media Manager.

2014 06 01

One of the main projects I worked on involved creating 3D models of items from the museum collections using photogrammetry, which I wrote about previously. I’d already learnt a little about the techniques involved, and this project gave me some valuable practical experience putting those lessons into action. It was amazing to be given access to photographic equipment and modelling software, and to have the freedom to experiment with different techniques. I benefitted a lot from the Digital Team’s photography knowledge, and I’m very proud of the models our experiments produced! Check them out here: https://sketchfab.com/postal

3D model of Stamp Snake. You can manipulate the model here: https://sketchfab.com/models/8c78b277cb0c4b2c9a3901970c94e2f4

3D model of Stamp Snake. You can manipulate the model here: https://sketchfab.com/models/8c78b277cb0c4b2c9a3901970c94e2f4

Another project involved digitisation work of a different kind, scanning historical maps and documents. A highlight was handling documents related to the sinking of the Titanic, and learning about the Post Office and Mail Room which were on board. This really made me appreciate how unique a resource the BPMA’s collections are.

I also digitised the negatives of maps depicting different postal routes; it was fun to take a small piece of film and digitise it to reveal the detailed and colourful illustrations it held. Digitisation can help preserve the museum and archive collections and make them more accessible; it’s exciting to think these images could help engage people in the story of Britain’s social and communications history.

Newly digitised map ready if needed for The Postal Museum!

Newly digitised map ready if needed for The Postal Museum!

I really enjoyed my time at the BPMA as I was given the opportunity to develop so many new skills and to work on more projects than I have space to mention! I’m interested in seeing how digital technologies continue to play a part in the BPMA’s work, and especially in the new Postal Museum. My placement gave me a valuable insight into life in the museums and heritage sector, and I’m extremely grateful to everyone I met who took the time to talk to me about their role.

Work experience: Abi at the Postal Museum

Hi, my name’s Abi, over the past week I have been doing work experience with the BPMA, gaining an insight, not only into the work of the organisation, but also the world of work in general.  I have been really lucky in finding the BPMA as a placement, as I have been given the opportunity to spend time with lots of different people, all of whom have been amazing at sharing what they do with me. Possibly my favourite day was spent working in the conservation studio, learning everything from how humidity affects artefacts, to why bubble wrap is banned! (I believe it has to do with the breakdown of polymers…)

Work experience trainee Abi in the Conservation Studio

Abi in the Conservation Studio

Doing work experience here has given me a great appreciation of all the different jobs there are within one organisation, all requiring such different sets of skills. I have also had the opportunity to soak up the wonderful history that the archive has to offer, especially whilst visiting Debden to see all of the large artefacts that the BPMA is responsible for. Never before have I seen so many post boxes in one place!

The British Postal Museum Store at Debden, near Loughton, Essex. The line of pillar boxes show the development of post boxes from the earliest trials on the Channel Islands in 1852-3 to the modern day.

Pillar Box Alley at the BPMA Museum Store, Debden, Essex

The experience here has opened my eyes to why museums and archives are so important; they allow us to preserve history for future generations, so they can learn the same lessons from it that we have.

While I have been here, people have often asked me what I want to do later on in life, and if I know what I want to study at university. What I have told them is simple; I don’t know, but I’m looking around at all there is to choose from. I am unbelievably grateful for everyone being so accommodating for this reason; it has allowed me a really valuable look at an area that I am interested in, and it will definitely help me make decisions regarding my career in the future.

Speaking of the future, I am looking forward to the opening of the new Postal Museum, and especially the Mail Rail ride, it sounds like it will be amazing!

A trainee teacher shares his experience of being on placement with us

Hello, I’m Tommy, a postgraduate student at London South Bank University where I’m training to be a primary school teacher.

As part of this course, I recently spent a week on placement at the British Postal Museum and Archive. I worked closely with Sally, the Schools Learning Officer to learn how the BPMA use their archive and resources to deliver engaging and stimulating school sessions.

DSCF0276

Pupils select definitive stamps

One of the sessions I observed was “Stamp Champs” in a year 3 class at Claremont Primary School in Cricklewood, North London.

This was a fun session, where pupils were given the chance to dress up as postal workers from the past as they learnt about the history of the postal service.

The pupils also had the chance to investigate stamps from around the world by playing an interactive game using stamps from sixteen different countries.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the session was when the pupils were given the opportunity to begin their own stamp collection. Firstly, they learnt how to remove a used stamp that was attached to an envelope and they kept this as the first stamp in their collection.

DSCF0273

Students soak definitive stamps to detach them from envelopes.

The pupils then chose another five stamps each from around the world that Sally had brought along for them.

The classroom was buzzing as each pupil rifled through the numerous stamps to find which ones they wanted for their collection. Each pupil had their own reason for the stamps they chose – be it that it was from the country of their birth, a commemorative stamp from an event they recognised or even just a striking design – there was no doubt that they had all been gripped by “stamp fever” and were proud of the birth of their stamp collection.

DSCF0272

Pupils showcase their final selection of stamps.

As we left, the pupils thanked us and told us how much they enjoyed the session, with one boy saying that we were welcome to come back anytime!

“Stamp Champs” really was a fantastic session to observe and take part in, and I would have no hesitation in booking it for a class when I graduate later this year and begin teaching.

The school visits were a highlight of my time at BPMA, however, the opportunity to search the archives has also been fascinating. I was given an interesting, detailed tour of the archive and used my new found knowledge to develop ideas for a session about the role of the postal service during World War Two.

My time at BPMA has been thoroughly enjoyable and I have learnt a lot about  what the museum collection can offer for schools. Thank you to everyone at BPMA for having me!

We’re taking bookings for the summer term now. Find out how to book a free school workshop for your class.