Matthew Platt

I came to the North Herts Museum for my year 10 work experience, and I really enjoyed it. I learnt lots about how museums are run and got to see a lot of the behind the scenes whilst being allowed to help with the creation of a new exhibit and assist with setting up multiple displays including one about local sports events.

A 1990 boxing programme worked on by Erin, showing a match involving Hitchin’s Andy Straughn.

The experience was brilliant, and I loved seeing all around the museum and working with so many kind people. Seeing the displays around the museum allowed me to learn about local history and eras in time that I was unfamiliar with.

Doing my work experience here allowed me to see what I can do with my passion for history in the future and I now plan on studying it further. As well as that, it allowed me to grow my confidence in many areas and be more independent.

I am grateful I had this opportunity and thank the staff at the museum for their kindness and giving me the opportunity to do my work experience there.

For my year 10 work experience I got my placement at the North Hertfordshire Museum, located in Hitchin. During my week here I was fortunate to experience many different parts the museum that allows it to be able to fully function and educate people of all ages on the fascinating history of North Herts.

I was able to discover what it is like to sort through and log multiple artefacts and documents that have the potential to end up on display, during the week I worked on objects donated by the Offley Morris Men. I got the opportunity to learn about the Offley Morris Men, which I would never even known existed until I was gifted with the opportunity to look through and understand the history of the group.

A jug engrved with the details of Offley Morris Men.


Furthermore, whilst I was understanding the works of the museum, I got to spend some time at the front desk. I got to see how those who work at the desk interact with people, helping to improve, my skills interacting with others. I was lucky enough to have my work experience week land in the week where the museum hosted a Ukraine refugee coffee morning. I saw how the people in the museum care and work hard to help those who need it.

Guest post by Greer Parker

My name is Greer Parker and I have recently completed a Fashion Curation master’s degree at London College of Fashion. My placement at North Hertfordshire Museum was initially due to take place a year ago but had to be postponed due to Covid restrictions. The placement was funded by the Costume Society, allowing me to gain valuable hands-on experience of working with a museum collection, in this case shoes! My background is in historic dress research and production, so I have been able to bring my knowledge of historic dress to the project, whilst also getting the opportunity to work hands on with an historic shoe collection.

The North Hertfordshire Museum shoe collection is made up of men’s, women’s and children’s shoes from the 18th century to the present day. The aim of the project was to update and upload the historic shoe collection to the online collection system, meaning objects that are rarely seen in person are now easily accessible to a much wider audience. To do this, I have spent the last six weeks condition checking objects, measuring, photographing and updating digital files. I completed the project by curating a temporary display cabinet inside North Hertfordshire Museum, to show my findings. Here visitors can see a selection of the more unusual and aesthetically pleasing items form the collection. These range from the diamante studded shoes of the 1920s, shoes made in miniature for infants, to 18th century dance slippers with ‘gauche’ (left) and ‘droite’ (right) written inside, to ensure they were worn on the correct feet. The oldest shoes in the display are small red infants shoes from the 1790s, it is always intriguing to see something made so long ago, not to mention something made so precisely in a miniature size.


The 1790 infant shoes

I have really enjoyed my time with the museum, gaining incredible experience of working with curators and a digital archiving system, along with the modern practice of blended working, both on site and from home.

Greer and her display

In the future I would love to continue working with historic dress collections, clothing is such an emotive link with the past. Knowing an object had a life before entering the museum, that it was worn and used centuries ago, this provides a tangible link with the past and a visual representation of our social history.




Greer’s chosen shoes in their display case


A collection of dance shoes from the 1800s

A tiny pair of infant’s shoes


An infant’s shoe made of straw plait

You can start your search of the museum’s online database on the link below.