Christina Adams has been working as an intern behind the scenes in the Library & Archives since the 14th August.
She has always had a strong interest in natural history, and keeps up to date with current developments in her spare time. A farming friend has encouraged her to be interested in the subject of Lepidoptera (butteflies and moths).
After completing a degree in Physics and Astronomy, Christina worked in a laboratory environment, but soon realised it wasn't her 'cup of tea', and has since been working at a specialist gaming store. She admits to being a fully-fledged 'gaming geek'!
Christina began to look for a career route where she could use her degree, but in a less direct route. A friend suggested being a Librarian, what a perfect mix of her love of books and making information accessible to others!
She spotted an advert on the current vacancies page of the Natural History Museum's website for a seven week internship within the Library & Archives. What an ideal opportunity to overlap her science knowledge, customer services and interest in printed books.
Christina was over the moon to be offered the position and started back in mid-August. She has loved her time here so much, that she has requested for a week's extension to her original time frame and hopes that she can blend in so well she never has to leave!
What types of things has Christina been involved in so far?
In the Archives - Researching and indexing a collection of newspaper clippings about the Natural History Museum and former parent organisation, the British Museum.
Working alongside the Assistant Records Manager, repackaging paintings and documents in the store.
In the Library - Cataloguing as part of the dedicated cataloguing team based in the library. This Christina admits she found this difficult initially but is now completely converted! She loves the fact that each book you pick up is never the same and always offers something interesting. This includes entertaining Victorian books and fold out maps, with each one offering the temptation of flicking through before you start cataloguing.
Transcribing letters written by Alfred Russel Wallace, as part of the Wallace Correspondence Project. This Christina loved, and likened to be being a detective: looking through private letters, seeing snippets of someone's life, and trying to decode their Victorian handwriting. In two letters alone, she recalls learning a huge amount about plants.
What has she enjoyed the most so far?
Definitely the transcribing, as Wallace is a personal hero of hers, but also learning about the collections the Library has. This includes being shown vibrant pieces of artwork that are more than two hundred years old, and seeing beautiful books, whilst learning about why they are important.
What is Christina's tip to anyone else interested in volunteering behind the scenes in the NHM?
Go for it: it is well worth it! A good experience, and an opportunity to contribute to the Natural History Museum, with the feeling that you have played a small part in science. The Museum, and Library in particular, is a really nice place to work, where you feel like a member of staff, rather than just an intern or volunteer.
Thank you to Christina for all her hard work, it has been a pleasure having her as part of the Library & Archives team. We hope that she continues to enjoy her last two weeks with us.