What’s it like to be: Building Conservation Trainee – Claire Vidler

Building Conservation Trainee, Claire Vidler, reflects on her time working at the Museum. Claire’s 6-month placement, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, ran from January 2016 – June 2016.

“The time I’ve spent at the Museum as a trainee has been hugely beneficial to me in a variety of ways. The primary benefit has been to improve my confidence in working in the conservation of buildings, both by increasing my knowledge and also obtaining practical skills to utilise in the future.

Claire 1

There have been other benefits as well; I have been able to expand my skill set by helping the curatorial and interpretation teams. Opportunities have also arisen to learn to wattle, conserve timber bobs and to calculate lathe requirements.

Attending courses provided by the Museum has allowed me to expand my CV of which I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to do. Courses included: Dating Timber Frame Buildings, The Roofing Square as well as being able to complete the Timber Framing from Scratch course. This has given me practical solutions to framing problems that occur in the industry today, as well as examining previous methods used.

Working on one of the Museum’s exhibit buildings, a medieval house from Sole Street, has enabled me to see the conservation and re-erection process from start to finish. Being directly involved has improved my skill set and confidence by enabling me to get direct experience of doing research (both field and in the archives), surveying timbers in a logical and methodical manner, specifying and conducting a variety of repairs, as well as working on site to set out for the foundations and raise a frame. These have been unique opportunities as they occur so infrequently in the field and have enabled me to see how the process should be conducted under best practice conditions.

The opportunity to conduct repairs has been particularly useful to me. It has enabled me to practice what had only been a theoretical understanding of best practice. The repairs conducted have enabled me to see some of the challenges faced by the conservator and the questions that need to be raised, as well as some of the skills needed to conduct repairs. I have had the chance to do resin repairs and develop my own style of resin repair. Working at the Museum has given me access to see first-hand experimental work, which has directly influenced the world of resin repair as well as meeting some of the individuals who have pioneered the work.

Most importantly it has been a pleasure to work in a supportive and encouraging environment, which has given me the opportunity to learn new skills for me to use in the future.”

The Museum team would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the role of Building Conservation Trainee for six months, and also Claire for her hard work. We wish her the best of luck with her future career.

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