Archives Graduate Trainee Stephanie Rolt reflects on some of the highlights of her year at Kew in her final blog post
I can’t believe that my year at Kew is almost over – it has absolutely flown by! Although I will be sad to leave the fascinating archive and the beautiful gardens, I am really excited about embarking on my future career as an archivist. I feel I’ve learned so much this year and have had so many opportunities to experience what working in an archive is really like, both at Kew and further afield.
I’ve really enjoyed being able to experience so many different aspects of archival work, including answering enquiries, supervising readers, retrieving documents, managing reprographics orders, cataloguing, repackaging, giving tours, producing displays and, of course, writing blog posts about the collections. I’ve also had the chance to learn about modern records management, which in turn has helped me to understand how some of our documents became archives in the first place. Additionally I’ve been given the opportunity to work with Kew’s conservators and digitisers, who do so much great work in helping to preserve our archives and in making them accessible.
Part of the Jubilee Celebration Reading Room display produced by the Graduate Trainees during their year at Kew
Touring other archives
I’ve also had the chance to visit other archives, including the National Archives at Kew, the Surrey History Centre, the archives of the Natural History Museum, the National Theatre and even Unilever up in Port Sunlight. It has been interesting to compare collections and practices at archives of different sizes and types, and to talk to other trainees and archivists about their experiences in this small profession.
My next step is to study towards a post-graduate Diploma in Archive and Records Management at University College London. It’s necessary to have a Diploma or Masters in this area to become an archivist, and several universities in the UK offer relevant courses, some via distance learning. Hopefully my year at Kew will have given me lots of practical experience to draw upon whilst on the course.
But although it’s farewell from me, don’t forget to look out for blog posts by the new Graduate Trainee in the autumn.
- Steph -
- Learn more about the Library and Archives Graduate Traineeships at Kew
- Interested in becoming an archivist? Find lots of useful information on the Archive and Records Association website
- Search Kew's Archive catalogue online
- Pay us a visit
About Nick Johnson
Nick Johnson is the team leader of the Temperate and Conservation collections. Nick has been at Kew for nearly ten years and has worked in the Tropical Nursery for eight of them.
Nick manages a small team that cares for the temperate collections and the increasingly important threatened island flora collections. He provides propagation training to the students in the Nursery and has travelled to some amazing island habitats to assist conservationists in their bid to save endangered plant species.
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