20SPRING 2012PEOPLEA VITAL PARTof the Trust's work is training thenext generation of heritage professionals in a rangeof specialised areas, from volunteer management toheritage gardening. Several internships, funded bythe generosity of members, partner organisationsand donors, contribute to this effort. Here some ofthe interns explain the progress they are making.ANNA STARKEYCollections Conservation DepartmentAnna Starkey was writing a university dissertationon Iraq's National Museum, looted after the USinvasion in 2003, when she grasped a key pointabout preventive conservation. "I suddenly realisedthe current problems the museum was experiencingweren't just the looting or the war, it was years andyears of neglect. It really brought home to me thatyou can make an object look fantastic withinterventive conservation, but if you put it back intopoor conditions it's a waste of effort."Two years later, Anna, 26, is relishing herpreventive conservation internship, a one-yearplacement financed by the Bute Memorial Fund andrun by the Trust in partnership with Icon, theInstitute of Conservation. With the Trust providingan action-packed structured year and Icon the widerprofessional framework, Clare Meredith, head ofcollections conservation services, is proud to call this"the gold standard - Rolls Royce stuff" of UKinternships. safePhotography:Rob BradyInvesting in the talent andenthusiasm of young people is avital part of ensuring continuityin efforts to conserve Scotland'sheritage. Sam Phippslooks athow the Trust is ensuring thatthe momentum is kept upIn
WWW.NTS.ORG.UK21?Working under supervisor Mel Houston, Anna -whose first degree was English from LoughboroughUniversity with a postgraduate in objectsconservation at Lincoln University - has beenlearning about all aspects of protecting the Trust'sheritage assets, including ethical as well as practicalconsiderations. Though based in Edinburgh, she makes frequentproperty visits and is encouraged to attend majorprofessional conferences. A recent one took her tothe British Museum, and in March she started a four-month chemistry course for conservators - thedistance learning qualification recommended for allIcon interns without a science background."Mel's done a lot on pest management at Trustproperties, so I've been going round learning toidentify insects which cause damage. Robert Smail'sPrinting Works at Innerleithen, for instance, has aninfestation of furniture beetle and has a riverrunning under it. So it brings up lots of challengesabout how to maintain relativehumidity and temperature."It's all very well reading aboutit but until you compareenvironmental conditions in a17th century castle with a 21stcentury museum, you don'tappreciate the differences."Anna is also working on daylight managementand control, and her findings will feed directly intoTrust procedures through training for staff andvolunteers. Basic steps can make a huge difference,such as ensuring blinds are drawn outside visitinghours to protect historic collections. "It's thecumulative effect that's damaging, so a short periodof high light levels can equal a long period of lowlight levels. It's a juggling act."LAURA MACDONALDRobert Burns Birthplace Museum"I graduated in Scottish literature in June but I'velearned more about Burns here in the last month"If you put an objectinto poor conditionsit's a waste of effort"