Guest post by Lucy Slater
As a university student with no prior museum knowledge, completing three weeks worth of work experience at North Hertfordshire Museum has been an eye opening and incredibly fun experience. Coming in to the museum for my first day as a complete novice was nerve wracking, but everyone at the museum was helpful, kind and willing to answer my constant stream of questions. My time at the museum has consisted of undertaking a multitude of tasks, such as digitising accession records, cleaning objects of interest (from local swimming trophies to ancient axe heads), and even locating a painting needed by the museum. Each of these tasks brought to light a new aspect of the challenges of museum work and provided me with new knowledge and skills. My goal for this work experience was to learn as much as I could, and the team at the museum made sure I reached that goal.
Local History truly comes to life at the North Herts Museum. My time here gave me a fascinating glance into the world of museum work, but also into the detailed and at times incredibly personal history of the district. From impassioned correspondence between the curator of the former Hitchin football museum and the clubs he requested objects from, to the extensive, colourful, and occasionally abrasive geology collection, North Hertfordshire Museum contains some of the most interesting objects I’ve ever had the opportunity to discover.
If ever you’re in the mood to be immersed in an engaging and dynamic museum experience, or wanting a challenging and fulfilling work experience placement, I cannot recommend North Hertfordshire Museum enough.
My week at the museum has been an amazing experience filled with learning new skills, information and meeting new, fantastic people who have passed their knowledge onto me. I have thoroughly enjoyed this week and I feel as though I have had a real taster of what working in an historical environment would be like and has made me certain that it’s what I want to do in the future. On Monday I was given the opportunity to help Lucy, a masters student from York who was here this week as well, to identify the sexes of human remains; I really enjoyed doing this as Lucy taught me what to look for in the bones and so was able to determine the sexes independently. On Tuesday I was cataloguing stone artefacts many of which are fantastically preserved and were wonderful to look at. On Wednesday and Thursday I was cataloguing flint stones which involved drawing them, labelling my diagram and photographing the flints. On Friday I was lucky enough to look through the social history section of the stores for medical equipment for a display the museum is showing next week which will celebrate the NHS’ 70th birthday. My time at the museum has been wonderful and I am so thankful to the museum for my experience and how its sparked an excitement in me for my career and the future.
By Jack Hubbard (guest author)
When I first took the opportunity to have my work experience I didn’t really know what to expect from it apart from that I was going to be doing stuff to do with history which is something I am passionate about. But on day one I realised that the week was going to be better than I imagined. I really enjoyed seeing some very interesting things like the Louis Wain paintings which I got to spend most of my experience being with. The work environment is calming, and everyone works well together which I found pleasant to be part of for the week. I really learnt a lot about something I am interested in and I hope to come back as a volunteer sometime in the close future. I would recommend anyone with interests to do with history and other similar subjects that the North Hertfordshire Museum is the place to go for an amazing experience.
Thank you for letting me do my experience here.
John Henry Newman School.