The summer’s a time of comings and goings in the Museum, and a perfect opportunity for all sorts of people to get a bit of experience of working in a museum. Last week saw the end of a placement for Naomi, a 3rd year Earth Sciences undergraduate here at Oxford. She has just spent two weeks helping us to catalogue a large collection of North of England minerals. She was fascinated to find specimens of rare minerals from mines and quarries near her home and her student mapping area, both of which are in Cumbria. Many of the mines were still working when the collection was made, but today they are disused and many are flooded or lost.
School student Robert also joined us for a week as part of his school work experience scheme. He spent a day repairing fossils and helping staff spruce up the palaeontology displays. There’s lots of competition for our very few work experience placement opportunities, but we could see why Robert was keen to work in the Museum. He loves geology and is really keen to study Earth Sciences at university – maybe here at Oxford.
Afternoon tea break gave Robert the perfect opportunity to find out from Naomi what it is like to be an Earth Scientist at Oxford, and indeed what made so many of the staff sitting round the table want to study and make a career in geology. Geology is a subject that can make a big difference to lives, whether prospecting for ores, oil or water supplies, or understanding geo-hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes. But there’s no doubt about it, working outdoors in the field was a big attraction… and so was working with amazing and rare specimens in a museum!
We’ll be looking forward to following Naomi and Robert in their geological careers.
Assistant Curator, Mineral Collections