A National Treasure

In England by Eller Student

Working in London has opened my eyes in more ways than one. I heard that people love their tea here and I heard that people love their humor. But I have found that people love their work. Where I am interning started during Queen Victoria’s reign and now serves as an archeological, historical, archiving hub. Coming into this internship I knew incredibly little about the Middle East (specialty of the place), knowing only what I see highlighted on the news back home.
I warned my boss about this and in return I am learning loads at work every day. My boss takes the time out of her day to teach me about what I am actually doing. When I am working on a project she encourages me to take the time to read through the primary documents, not blindly sort. For example one of my duties is to digitize a collection of photographs, sketches, notes, letters, etc. that belonged to a 20th century archeologist. I expected that I would have to focus most on being efficient and finish the job as quickly as possible. On the contrary, my boss told me to read the letters if I like and to look at the photographs and ask any questions that may pop into my head.
This is not how I expected to be able to work as an intern, with such freedom! Beyond this collection, she includes me in the bigger projects. I was able to touch a theodolite that belonged to a famous surveyor and it was such a privilege. I went to the Science Museum about a week after that happened and felt rather smug as I saw some theodolites behind glass displays, thinking how I handled a rather important one myself.
I also get to handle old maps (including one from 1584!) and mostly maps of the Middle East that are from when people first started surveying the area. Most of the maps are from the 1800s and there are even original manuscripts. I have joked with my friends that my internship reminds me of National Treasure – dealing with important things in an important city. But in fact I think that the place at which I internship itself is a national treasure. It receives less recognition than it deserves and the people are passionate about their objects. I am so pleased to say that I have the privilege to learn and handle history each day at work.