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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"

22SPRING 2012PEOPLE?than I ever did at uni," says Laura Macdonald,gesturing to rows of books by or about the nationalbard.She is also referring to a wealth of other resources,including manuscripts, artefacts and displays, as wellas the expertise of colleagues, volunteers andvisitors.As one of two learning interns at the Robert BurnsBirthplace Museum in Alloway - with funding fromMuseums Galleries Scotland and Skills for theFuture, and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund- Laura, 25, is in the ideal place to share herenthusiasm and build on that knowledge. When we speak she has been busy with a groupfrom Donaldson's, Scotland's national school forchildren who are deaf or have communicationdifficulties. She has been showingthem round the BurnsCottage and helping outat a workshop whosetasks include makingbutter, 18th-centurystyle. Weeks later she isdue to take sole charge ofworkshops of up to 25children. "Heritage and culturehave always been mypassion and I would love to keep passing that on toeverybody else. I'm still studying but I get to do somuch else as well. The museum is being brilliantabout letting me get involved in all kinds ofdifferent things."Laura, a Glasgow University graduate who also hasan HND in drama, was also delighted to organise herown event: a Burns-themed beer festival. "Burns obviously had a huge back catalogue ofdrinking songs so it will tie in with that. We'll havebrewers and maltsters giving talks, and given his rolein tax, it would be good to get someone in fromexcise to explain how that works too."Laura has also been developing the museum'sFacebook page and Twitter feed and setting up ablog. "Everybody's door is open. I phoned headoffice for advice and their digital media team said:come and see us. They gave me a day there andanswered loads of questions. "Overall I am insanely lucky to have found thisposition."KRIS BRUCEVolunteering Department"Everyone has different reasons for becoming avolunteer, and one of the biggest challenges ismaking sure they find a place which is beneficialand meaningful for them," says Kris Bruce. "There are more than 3,000 Trust volunteers andbefore taking on this role I hadn't realised the extentand range of work they do."The role is volunteer management intern, a one-year post devised by Museums Galleries Scotlandand funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Kris, 24, became interested in the Trust onchildhood visits to properties in Aberdeenshire,where he grew up. Then, after graduating in historyfrom Edinburgh University, he started volunteeringat Haddo House, close to his family home. "I began"I've learnedmore aboutBurns here inthe last monththan I ever didat uni"