"It was a once-in-life-time learning experience and a real eye-opener"
Report by Philip Jailos
My stay at the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin was really good. Everyone was so kind and very supportive. The African collection Department was great: it was a department of joyful and lively young people. I was involved with everything within and outside working hours. I got easily absorbed into the system because of how everyone welcomed me at the museum. I really felt at home.
The Ethonologisches Museum closed its doors in January 2017 to get ready for the new exhibition at the Humboldt forum (New Berlin Castle) in 2019. Upon closure, there were a series of activities which were put in place in readiness for the relocation of the exhibition. One of the activities was the de-installation of the exhibition and packing of the objects. It involved opening the show cases, taking out the objects, cleaning them and packing them into boxes. That gave me an opportunity to learn how to handle different kinds of objects, and also how to pack objects for various purposes such as storage, treatment and transportation.
During my time at the museum I had the chance to have hands on practice on how to restore some broken objects: Four Kalabases (Calabash) which had cracks and broken parts and others with pink tape on them were identified from the storage area. Using those selected objects I had to undergo all the stages of restoration under the supervision of a senior Restorer.
It was a life-time learning experience and a literal eye-opener in the field of conservation. The skills I gained will have a huge impact on the Museum of Education and the heritage sector in Malawi. I will go back home with a bigger head with full of new information and I will perform my duties more confidently than before, having attended this intensive on job training at the Ethnologisches Museum.
Philip Jailos, December 2016 - April 2017, Ethnologisches Museum Berlin.