The side of the museum you don’t see | The Mary Rose
The side of the museum you don’t see
Collections | 05 Apr, 2022 | The Collections Team
This month's collections blog features Luca and Tom, two of our Kickstart trainees.

The Kickstart Scheme is a programme launched by the Government to deliver funding to employers offering new job roles for 16–24-year-olds in receipt of Universal Credit, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme is aimed at preventing young people from facing long-term unemployment. Luca and Tom started their Kickstart Scheme jobs at the Mary Rose Trust in January 2022, as Conservation and Collections Assistants respectively, and are working with us for six months. As way of introduction to our blog readers, we have asked them to share what they’ve been doing so far and what they hope to do more of during the remainder of their time here.

Luca surveying the ship

What inspired you to apply for the Kickstart Scheme jobs at the Mary Rose Trust?

L: The main reason I was interested in the role at the Mary Rose is because I’ve always had a love of history. My grandad started this off for me; when I was younger, he would tell me about the Second World War, the monarchs of England, and Victorian London. I took any opportunity to learn more, from studying history academically to visiting museums, reading books, and watching documentaries. I’m currently studying an Arts and Humanities degree at the Open University, which includes a module on Elizabeth I.

T: I’ve always had an interest in history, and the opportunity to be part of preserving history for the public to enjoy jumped at me and grabbed my imagination. As someone who’s worked with data management, the collections side of things appeals to that part of my brain too. I’ve learnt a lot over the first couple of months here, from the fact that Henry VIII cast his iron cannonballs with an ‘H’ brand as an official mark of the king to denote his property, to how relative humidity and temperature are controlled to ensure that the artefacts are preserved properly.

What have you enjoyed most during your time working here so far?

L: This job role is the ideal opportunity to combine my degree with practical experience. I’ve been able to get involved in a wide variety of tasks, from learning about conservation techniques to cataloguing the collection. I’m really enjoying getting an in-depth view into the running of the Museum, as I had no idea just how many departments collaborate to create the amazing experience that is visiting the Mary Rose.

T: There has been a lot of information to take in, but what I've enjoyed most has been the recording, cataloguing, and inspecting of the items in the Mary Rose Trust’s collection – veritable windows into the past, looking in at how our ancestors lived and, for many unfortunate souls aboard the Mary Rose that day in July 1545, how they died. Handling and cataloguing these items, I feel, ensures that they can be enjoyed and studied by generations to come, which to me is a noble cause.

Tom with a replica set of scales

You both attended a series of Mary Rose Trust lectures for staff and volunteers, what were your highlights from this?

L: I’ve learnt so much from the talks by staff from the Conservation and Collections Care department, who are experts in their fields, as speakers explained the projects they’re currently working on and progress that’s been made from their research. I particularly enjoyed two talks, one on the weapons in the collection and one on the objects that are still on the seabed. These talks were an amazing way to get insight into the active research projects that surround the Mary Rose.

T: An example of one of the brilliant lectures and tours given was by Chris Dobbs, Head of Interpretation, who was one of the team of divers who recovered the Mary Rose from the seabed in 1982. The wealth of knowledge and incredible enthusiasm make it hard not to be engaged, and I always walked away from the talks having learnt something new.

What are you looking forward to doing during the coming months?

L: I’m looking forward to learning more about collections through digitising documents and photos from the archaeological archive and being more actively involved in the ongoing conservation process of the ship.

T: I’m really excited to be part of the digitisation process, to work towards making the archive and knowledge available to the public, as well as securing it for the future.