Hi I’m Ally. During this past week I have been doing work experience with Sarah Cowie as a Museum Education Assistant. It has been a great experience for me and each day I have seen a different side to the things a job in this area involves. From giving presentations to schools to inspecting a skeleton from the 12th century, the tasks were definitely divergent and always interesting.
When I first arrived on Monday I was taken on a tour of the building and introduced to the people that work there. Each person had a job focused in a different key area of the headquarters and this allowed me to learn about the different tasks they completed day to day. Once the tour was over I was then taken to the John Gray Centre (http://johngraycentre.org/) where I was shown the museum by Quonya and the archives by Bill. I was blown away by the amount of impact East Lothian has had as a whole on massive events from our history. Also in the archives it felt strange to think that artefacts from centuries ago that had once been held with the highest of importance where now all around me to see. For these reasons I encourage people to visit there as it really is remarkable. As the day went on I was set a task to research items in the museum and find out how they related to Haddington today. Whilst researching I found that cannonballs that were dug-up in the 1800s by work-men and discovered to have been from the siege of Haddington (1567/8) would actually in today’s world have been found just outside the town hall building.
On Tuesday I spent the whole day with Sarah at Windygoul Primary School in Tranent (http://www.edubuzz.org/windygoul/p2a-and-p2b/) giving a presentation on what a museum curator does to P2s. The kids really enjoyed the talk and seemed to have an obsession with dinosaur fossils. Once the talking was over the kids were set a task to investigate an item that had been handed out to them and then write a museum label for it. As they did this I helped out by answering kid’s questions and helping them spell. The day proved to be very productive and I even learned a few things about museums myself!
I met Sarah at the John Gray Centre on Wednesday as I had been asked to sit in on a rehearsal of a WW1 sketch that will eventually be presented to P6s to inform them of the jobs men and women did during the war and what this entailed. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m sure the P6s will too as the acting was superb. Once the sketch was over we returned to HQ and I was set a task to create a document of things teachers can do to inform their classes of Mary Queen of Scots life and reign. However I was soon asked to help Claire (collections officer) put together a skeleton from the 12th century which was very interesting and definitely different from other things I had done so far in the week. I enjoyed it and found the story of the man’s death very intriguing.
On Thursday I did office work and was allotted time to complete my Mary Queen of Scots information document. The day went by quickly and it gave me a chance to compare desk and field work. Personally I think a mixture is the best thing as too much field could be overwhelming whilst too much desk could be quite draining.
Friday was only a half day and I used the time to finish off any tasks from earlier on in the week.
I have really enjoyed my Work experience and am very grateful to Sarah and her colleagues for giving me the opportunity.