Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Hi! I’m Emma, a work experience student from Lady Manners. I’m working as part of the Arkwright Society this week under Michael Ledger, the Education Officer. So far I’ve really enjoyed being here – I might even try to volunteer over the summer holidays. I can’t believe I’m already halfway through the week!
I chose to come here because it combines two major interests of mine: history and people. I’d like to go into Anthropology (preferably at Cambridge) and working here for a week seemed like the best option to me, because I could learn more about social change in the past and how it affected the average person at that time.
On Monday I had an induction and a tour and my first task was to help Michael set up for the next school visit. We made lots of weaving sticks and fixed the model looms and he told me about the roleplay they do with the children during the visits, which sounds quite fun. In the afternoon I worked in the café for an hour or so. I was washing up and serving food, and they were so kind; they let me take a piece of cake. After that Michael and I walked up to Cromford Primary School to meet some of the children and see where I was going to run a workshop the next day.
On Tuesday we spent most of the morning sorting out an exhibition space. Shirebrook Academy are sending some artwork to display, and a Rolls-Royce team have made a sound-making machine that is supposed to replicate the sounds of the mills. It took us a while to find a table for the Rolls-Royce project and clearing one end of the Exhibition Room for the artwork took even longer, because there were a lot of toys and equipment for children’s visits stored there.
That afternoon I went up to the primary school to run a folk dance workshop. I had four groups for half an hour each. All the children were lovely and quite well-behaved, and they really enjoyed the dancing. I used a mix of modern music and folk music and I demonstrated some clogging so they could understand where it originated.
Today I’ll help set up the exhibitions, and at some point this week I’m going on one of the guided tours of the mills; I might even spend some time in the Visitors’ Centre shadowing one of the volunteers there. I can’t wait to learn more about the lives of the mill workers and the history of the mill!
Friday, 20 July 2018
This week has been amazing. I don’t want it to be over, to be honest.
Yesterday we finished the exhibition room, and then in the afternoon I helped in the Visitors Centre. The Arkwright Experience is really cool, I didn’t know you could arrange projectors like that to form 3D images. I’m helping in the Centre all day today, which should be interesting – I’ll even operate the card machine at some point!
I hope to come back and volunteer soon, maybe this summer or maybe after my exams, because all the staff have been lovely and made me feel really welcome. Perhaps if they need extra help for an event?
It’s been great, and I really recommend coming here for work experience if you want a taste of everything: office life, volunteering, and working in history and tourism. I can definitely see myself working in something similar, like a museum or country house, to kick-start a career in history. Now, though, I have to start working on my coursework.