Matthew Platt

A guest post by Isobel Evans, work experience student from Marriotts School, Stevenage

Isobel studies a museum accesion register, where we record items donated to the museum from 1914 to present day

Coming to north herts museum for my year twelve work experience was really enjoyable and gave me a lot of insight as to how a museum functions and how they prepare for exhibitions. The staff were really friendly which made my week here really fun. My work experience took place during the half term and the beginning of a new exhibition which meant I got to see a lot of people’s enthusiasm of the museum and what it displayed. Learning more about the history of the areas in which I grew up in and around was really insightful as it allowed me to learn about things that I more than likely wouldn’t of found out about anywhere else. Another thing that was interesting, were the accession books. Throughout the week, I spent a bit of time going through a few of them and helping log them onto a website they use to track what they have and also onto a spreadsheet. Seeing this was really insightful as I got to see what kind of things are donated to the museum and sometimes they were items I hadn’t heard of before and so it led to me researching them to gain a further understanding.

Thanks for all of your work during your week Isobel, all the best from us here at North Herts Museum.

Daisy and her two penguin pals

I thoroughly enjoyed my year 12 work experience here, it provided me valuable and interesting insight into collection management and curation that has really helped me refine my interests in historical collections and museums. By far the most unexpected activity was helping switch an Object Box used in Victorian schools (loaned to British Schools Museum) with two taxidermy penguins which was a uniquely charming experience (including making a social media post about their arrival), from this I also learned about recording loans and deliveries, (and a bit about Victorian schooling).

For the last two days of my placement, I focused on documents about the Offley Morris Men overviewing the group’s existence from their inception in 1955 to their dissolution in 2016. I helped log them into accession records both online and in the museum’s accession book, this was probably my favourite part as I got to examine real historical records for the first time. Making this an especially interesting experience was the personal and domestic nature of the records, including handwritten logbooks detailing their dancing tours and a Ladies Night menu signed and doodled on by attendees.

This experience has overall been very rewarding, from this I have learned the variety of jobs and unpredictability of each day working as a curator.

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.