Students at work – the Foundling Museum

Conservation students at West Dean College work on live projects and get to spend time working at prestigious heritage organisations from time to time, as part of their professional training.

Recently students on the Clocks Conservation programme were given the opportunity to work at the Foundling Museum, London. The Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, established in 1739 by the philanthropist Captain Thomas Coram, as 'a hospital for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children'.

Students spent time assessing clocks from the clock collection in the Public Galleries. Organised into two teams they dismantled and studied each movement to prepare reports on their condition and suggest options for treatment. Tutor Matthew Read supervised the day and visitors to the Museum were encouraged to talk to the students as they carried out the conservation work. All good practice for their future careers!

Clocks Conservation student Tabea Rude says, "The trip was incredibly valuable as we were treated like professionals. It was expected that we manage the whole process of surveying, documentation and partial disassembly in teams of three. While the day demanded all of my concentration and skill it also taught me a lot about how to communicate with museum staff, with my fellow students and with visitors."

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Clock Conservation Students at West Dean College

The emphasis for students at West Dean College is time in the studio and at the bench. Students gain hands-on experience working on unique and often rare objects from acclaimed collections. Combined with theoretical and scientific study and collaboration across the disciplines, graduates are sought-after and many go on to work in some of the world's finest institutions, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Maritime Museum, the British Museum and Imperial War Museum.