Geraldine Charles

I never expected to be part of anything like this when I worked here in my 20s.

22nd May 2019

I’m Geraldine Charles and I am the Museum Records Archivist.

Geraldine, can you tell me about your role here?

I’ve been doing this job since 1989. I look after the records that we generate as an organisation. Quite often I am providing information to other parts of the museum. They might have their own queries about an object or they might have questions that have come from outside of the museum.

How has this building impacted your work?

Well, I had become somewhat allergic to the dust in the atmosphere where I was working previously. So for me one of the most significant changes is that I no longer have to wear a mask when I’m working in the store.

The way the archive is stored is much better than it was previously. Having these little shelves that pull in and out and the roller racking is brilliant. And we have a much lighter, bigger reading room where I can look at records.

Have your relationships with colleagues changed at all?

I was quite secluded where I was in the previous store. Here, we have a lot of staff so I get to chat to people at lunchtime. I think I’ve become friendlier with certain people. I always knew they existed, but I never used to see them – so that’s a plus.

How do you feel when you walk into the building?

I’m so pleased. I never expected to be part of anything like this when I worked here in my 20s…and I’m now in my 60s.

I was actually working at this site in 1985. It was quite different back then. To see the changes here in the Prince Phillip Maritime Collection Centre compared to where I used to work is marvellous. But there’s also a little element of wistfulness. Being in this building does bring back memories. Just looking out of the window from the reading room, sometimes I think about the people I knew back in the 80s – some of them have now passed on. I hadn’t realised I would be thinking like that.