Following my graduation from university, I first started working as a volunteer at The Mills Archive in August 2014. I studied for a degree in History at Royal Holloway, University of London in which I specialised in medieval history. My interest in this time period drew me to the Mills Archive straight away when I was looking to secure suitable work experience in the archives sector so as to gain a place on an MA in Archives and Records Management. The watermill was the central pivot around which all of the local economies of the British Isles revolved during the Middle Ages; an essential lifeline to all communities.
Over the last two years, I have volunteered at The Mills Archive Trust, acquiring highly valuable experience and skills whilst undertaking a succession of internships at other archives. Through my experience at the Archive and elsewhere, I succeeded in gaining a place on the MA in Archives and Records Management at UCL which I was due to commence this September. However, I have had a last minute change of plan having just been offered a paid internship at Reading Museum which I will be starting shortly.
During my two years as a volunteer at the Mills Archive, I have been responsible for organising and cataloguing the E. M. Gardner Collection. When I first started, the collection was in disorder. Some parts had been catalogued and others had not. I collaborated with the Archivist Nathanael Hodge in arranging the Collection into eight different Series as I have discussed in detail above. Between August 2014 and September 2016, I have catalogued around three quarters of this Collection onto AtoM whilst having scanned, digitised and uploaded a total of 875 print photographs and 413 photographic negatives onto the online catalogue.
I have really enjoyed my time working as a volunteer at The Mills Archive. It has been a great pleasure and honour to be able to work as a member of the team and to make a lasting contribution to the organisation. My work on the E. M. Gardner Collection has allowed me to perfect my time management and planning skills whilst giving me the opportunity to develop and refine a particularly close attention to detail and technical accuracy. My time at the Archive has equipped me with a range of highly marketable skills and experience that will certainly prove very useful and beneficial to me in undertaking an Archives MA and in pursuing my future career.