My Work for the Museum of Liverpool

I’m Abbie and I’m the Museum Futures Digital Preservation Trainee for National Museums Liverpool. I work with the Regional Archaeology Department at the Museum of Liverpool and I’ve already learned and done so much in just my first few months.

Some of my day-to-day responsibilities have been performing collections management duties such as creating and updating our databases and records, as well as handling and organising some sites in the regional archaeology collection.

Currently I am working on making records for a hoard of 1500 Roman coins found in Poole in 2016.

(MOL.208.75.31 Obverse: Constantine I, Reverse: Altar, Minted in London)

(MOL.208.75.31 Obverse: Constantine I, Reverse: Altar, Minted in London)

The coins date from between 313-335 AD, and were from all across the Roman Empire, so getting to handle and work with them has been really exciting. I’ve also worked on photographing them and editing the two faces together, paying special attention to clearer examples which can be highlighted on our online collections.

(MOL.208.75.270 Obverse: Constantinus II, Reverse: Camp Gate, Minted in Trier)

(MOL.208.75.270 Obverse: Constantinus II, Reverse: Camp Gate, Minted in Trier)

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Romans put empresses on their coins, and some of my favourite coins are those images of empress Fausta, wife of Constantine I.

(MOL.208.75.276 Obverse: Fausta, Reverse: Fausta (as Salus) cradling her two sons- Constantine II and Constantinus II, Minted in Trier)

(MOL.208.75.276 Obverse: Fausta, Reverse: Fausta (as Salus) cradling her two sons- Constantine II and Constantinus II, Minted in Trier)

Another project I have been working on is creating images that highlight some points of archaeological interest within Merseyside to use on our social media. I am working on this with the help of Alkistis Kamadeli, an MA Museum Studies student on placement here. Learning about the fascinating history of where I’ve grown up has been really exciting, and getting to rifle through the museum’s history files I have found so many old records, photographs and drawings of the rich history of Merseyside.

Between 1987 and 2004, the department took thousands of aerial photographs of Merseyside on film, which are all stored as individual slides and have since been digitised. They were scanned at 4000dpi so they can be blown up from the 35mm slide to potentially be used to cover in-venue display cases, many meters wide or tall.

35mm film slide showing the 3 graces along the Liverpool waterfront.

35mm film slide showing the 3 graces along the Liverpool waterfront.

Once we knew which pictures we wanted to use, we started by looking at our old OS maps, which have a sheet of tracing paper with numbered dots penciled on, which correspond to history files.

A2 Ordinance Survey Map of a section of Liverpool circa 1980’s

A2 Ordinance Survey Map of a section of Liverpool circa 1980’s

Tracing paper with notes in pencil covering the map, showing spots where we have information about that building or piece of land.

Tracing paper with notes in pencil covering the map, showing spots where we have information about that building or piece of land.

Each dot has a grid reference, which we use to find the history file which explains what the dot represents. These files look like this:

Transcription:  Description: Type Classification - Find spot, artefact stone. Name of Site if any: Parliament Fields. Period: Neolithic. Type of Evidence: Find/ unpublished document/ published document.

Transcription: Description: Type Classification - Find spot, artefact stone. Name of Site if any: Parliament Fields. Period: Neolithic. Type of Evidence: Find/ unpublished document/ published document.

So this tells us that a neolithic axe-head was found on ‘Parliament Fields’ (which we can see is dot ‘1’ in square 36 by 88 on the map.

We pick out things we think are particularly interesting or things we think aren’t wellknown, and note them on our photograph like so:

Aerial photograph of Liverpool city center with coloured stickers which mark points of historical/archaeological interest.

Aerial photograph of Liverpool city center with coloured stickers which mark points of historical/archaeological interest.

Using Photoshop, we can turn this information into a useful educational graphic.

Here are some that we have produced so far:

Aerial Photograph of Liverpool City Center with historical facts pointed out.

Aerial Photograph of Liverpool City Center with historical facts pointed out.

And here’s the same picture but with zoomed in to certain areas to show more information:

LM03.097 - cropped left, edited.jpg
LM03.097 - cropped right, edited.jpg

Additional information about the Museum of Liverpool’s collections can be found on the website.

Follow me on Instagram @digitalpreservationtrainee to see other things I get up to during my traineeship!