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Volunteering Virtually at the Centre for Research Collections

From October to December 2020, the Conservation team hosted their first ever virtual volunteer as part of a diverse range of 30 volunteer projects at the CRC that took place remotely while there was reduced capacity on site due to Covid-19 control measures.

Projects included outreach and engagement with the Museums teams, and archival work with Lothian Health Services Archive and the Lyell Collection.  

As a part of this initiative, Stephanie Graban, a third year Edinburgh student, worked closely with Special Collections Conservator, Emily Hick, to analyse objects using X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). Emily took readings and Stephanie then interpreted the data and carried out contextual research about the objects at home. Together, they looked at items for which there had been little prior material knowledge, including a 15th-century bible from Nuremberg, an album of 16th-century Persian calligraphy, and a collection of 20th-century commemorative medals. The collaboration was highly successful and led to many interesting insights and areas for future research. Stephanie writes, “the range of objects which I studied was wonderfully varied; each week felt like I was embarking on a new historical journey to a different corner of the world – from the comfort of my bedroom”. For more information, please see the Conservation blog.

It was great to be able to offer volunteer placements, despite the difficult circumstances, and we will be hosting more virtual opportunities in the future. 


XRF analysis of Nuremberg Bible, 1483 (Inc.FF.13)
XRF analysis of Nuremberg Bible, 1483 (Inc.FF.13)