Volunteers India Burr-Hersey and Ana Alpuente joined the photographic studio in March to work on the Transparencies Project. As well as working through piles of slides, Ana and India have started to take on other projects within the studio and recently helped out with one of our photographic shoots. 

India Burr-Hersey writes about her recent experiences over the past few months of volunteering:

Since our initial blog post Ana and I have been involved a photographic shoot, visited an offsite archive, had tutorials from museum staff and are beginning to carry out tasks in the photographic studio.

Ana and India at an offsite archive with curator, Andrew Choong Ana and India at an offsite archive with curator, Andrew Choong

We have been working on the Transparencies Project and have now reached the end of sorting through the slides for disposal that the museum had appropriated. This mammoth task was eased by the ever-changing music taste of Josh and Will, the Digital Imaging Officers. We have all introduced and exchanged many artists over the period!

The piles of transparencies and slides to sort through The piles of transparencies and slides to sort through

The Royal Museums Greenwich volunteer pass issued when becoming a volunteer allows free entry to many leading Museums and Galleries. Ana and I plan to use ours to visit London based exhibitions that will broaden our understanding of photographic collections, maritime or other topics that take our fancy.

We have really enjoyed watching the Photographic studio twitter account grow (follow: @RMGPhotoStudio) and plan to visually document our experiences so people can gain an insight into what we do and the opportunities volunteering can lead to!

Ana Alpuente writes about volunteering behind the scenes in a museum photographic studio:

It’s been 3 months since India and I started volunteering one day a week at the Photographic Studio in Royal Museums Greenwich. It doesn’t feel like that long but I suppose when you are part of a good team and enjoy what you do time flies.

Ana and India taking part in a photographic shoot with other members of museum staff Ana and India taking part in a photographic shoot with other members of museum staff

During the training we felt very optimistic that we could finish the transparencies project within a month. Not because we wanted it to be over so soon, but because the big pile of slides and transparencies didn’t seem that mountainous. Now that we have sorted through approximately 600 slides I am beginning to understand why they asked for an initial commitment of 3 months!

Separating slides from their mounts for disposal Separating slides from their mounts for disposal

Volunteering every week for three months has given us continuity and created a familiarity with the team. We feel highly valued as volunteers and at the same time we are inspired by their knowledge and good taste of music!

Now that we have dug through the mountain we plan to explore more of the museums and galleries and get to know more about the fascinating work behind the scenes.

We’ve been challenged, that’s for sure, but we love it.

To follow the progress of this project and to keep up to date with the latest news from the Photographic Studio, follow their Twitter Feed @RMGPhotoStudio. To find out about other volunteering opportunities keep an eye on our website.