Each week we take a look at what’s been going on with Norfolk’s Teaching Museum Trainees. Today we see Holly Morrison, trainee with the Learning section.
Hello, my name is Holly Morrison and I am fortunate to be the Norfolk Museum Services learning trainee 2016, based out in the Eastern Areas of the service (at Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth). I can hardly believe I am already six months into my traineeship, or **HALF WAY THROUGH** this invaluable experience. With this in mind it seems an opportune time to summarise some of my favourite moments, and reflect on the experiences that have developed my skills and knowledge for future employment.
Centre with the other trainees at The MO Sheringham
I have structured this post into the two main areas my traineeship is divided into. Firstly, formal learning that I support two days a week, taking school bookings, planning, promoting, creating resources and delivering schools sessions. Secondly, youth engagement that I also support two days a week to support the planning, development, promotion and delivery of an outreach programme of events. This breakdown of my role has meant I have had to develop excellent time management and organisational skills, in order to juggle all requirements across five days to meet deadlines and project requirements, alongside a training programme of events on the final day of the week.
Schools – Formal Learning
Although I had previously worked with young people in both a voluntary and part time capacity in museums and within formal education, as a Learning Support Assistant and Arts Technician, I remember initially feeling intimidated by the confidence and skill of my fellow staff members. This seemed preposterous to most of my friends, who often had to warn me not to dress up in costume for formal events. However it was true, without a background in drama I was very nervous about assuming an accurate historical character in costume and remembering all my lines. However, after a supportive chat with colleagues in the learning team (who also happened to be previous learning trainees) I overcame my initial fear and got stuck into character sessions and I have never looked back.
Centre as a Victorian time traveller during a ‘Wide Angle’ youth group photo-shoot with my learning colleagues in costume, and teen twitter take over day participants.
My favourite Character to date has been Lady Livia, a Roman Lady who in her flamboyant jaunty wig, and Roman sandals puts children through their paces, testing their suitability as her slaves. I really enjoy delivering object handling sessions, as the objects from the collections have such potential for inspiring young people. (Initially this session format helped to remind me of the order of sessions and worked as a prompt for my lines). Some of my favourite object handling sessions have been: The Victorian Time traveller in ‘Seaside Rocks’; as well as facilitating a treasure hunt in ‘Pirates!’; and exploring ‘Survivors’ luggage at Cromer Museum for the ‘Stories From The Seas’ 2016 pilot, in collaboration with The Henry Blogg Museum.
Handling a not so old object with Polly Ward Learning Assistant , dressed as Roman lady’s at Burgh Castle Heritage Open Day
As a Tudor mask maker for Museums at Night at Elizabethan House
Although the role is fast paced and challenging, often involving learning session plans the night before, frequently moving heavy tables and props, and always unexpected and unpredictable, never the less I feel I have become confident in developing planning, managing and delivering a variety of school session to a range of diverse ages and abilities. (Including Early Years Foundation Stage EYFS in ‘Little Kippers’, where I previously had no experience). During the coming months my schedule is looking very busy with the schools team (especially if the 9,000 school visits in the last academic year, 3,000 higher than the previous highest total are anything to go by). I am most excited about delivering several new characters across the autumn term – the ARP Warden in ‘Evacuees’, Cinderella at Elizabethan House, constructing an iron age structure in the ‘Stone to Iron’ event, and playing a Nurse in are newly developed WW1 session.
Alongside these experiences I have also sought opportunities to observe colleagues in other museum learning settings, and attended further training opportunities, to build a better understanding of different learning methods, across areas such as Asperses, EAL, Arts Award and the use of technology with young people. To compliment school sessions I have delivered outreach events to promote our programmes. My favourite to date has been the ‘Rock and Roll Tea Parties’, a partnership between Age Concern UK and local primary schools, running inter-generational 1960s reminiscence handling sessions, alongside tea parties in schools and venues across Great Yarmouth. I have also developed skills in the operational side, supporting the team to plan, promote, market and take school bookings.
Being taught medieval manners at Norwich Castle learning event
Interacting with the pubic during one of the successful ‘Rock and Roll Tea Parties’
I have supported so many exciting youth engagement projects in the first six months of my traineeship, it is hard to only focus on a few or pinpoint individual highlights. However, three projects stand out as particularly pertinent in building my confidence in the area of youth engagement. Firstly, the ‘Crafting Histories’ programme; in which I helped organise and deliver CPD sessions to teachers, and workshops with students in print making with Sally Hirst, and Ceramics with Mella Shaw. Since these workshops I have supported the recruitment of the next two residencies in basketry and woodwork, through a youth panel, and the coordination of essential paperwork and promotion for the project. This project has equipped me with essential skills in recruitment, outreach methods, evaluation and the ability to match criteria to funding proposals.
‘Crafting Histories’ workshops with students and teacher CPD sessions
Secondly, there was the unforgettable opportunity of parading as a 7ft Buddy Holly puppet shaking hands with the public in ‘The Great Yarmouth Arts Festival’. This event illustrated for me the effective outcome of months of outreach with various community groups coming together, and highlighted for me the potential of effective youth engagement.
Inside Buddy Holly after the Great Yarmouth Arts Festival Parade
Finally, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to be the lead on Teen Twitter Take Over Day (TTTOD) at Time and Tide Museum on August 12th. Subsequently I attended Kids in Museums training at Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge on 13th July, to develop a plan for National Museums Take Over Day (TOD) on November 18th. Subsequently Time and Tide will be working in partnership with GYROS to support students with English as an Additional Language across six sessions, connecting them with our diverse collections in their three respective languages, to construct a trail, animated film and exhibition.
Working with young people during TTTOD and an example of one of their Twitter posts
Looking forward I can see a very busy youth engagement horizon- most of the youth engagement projects we have been setting up over the past several months will all be taking place between October and January. Of these forthcoming projects I am most excited about the afore mentioned TOD, as well as National Art and Design Saturday Club (NADSC) as I am playing a leading role in developing both. NADSC is a Sorrel Foundation initiative that will run every Saturday for thirty weeks, providing free art and design classes to young people between the ages of 13 – 16 commencing 5th October. I am also thrilled to be supporting three separate projects based on the life and works of Olive Edis, and to be helping with preparations for the final ‘Crafting Histories’ residency and exhibition.