Four weeks ago I began my new role as a Heritage Learning Trainee working with the Learning department at Gressenhall, it has been exciting and extremely varied. There was glorious weather as I began my education about the museum, the people and animals working there, the people who visit, the building’s history and different interpretations of the site and its past.
The Learning department has been busy in these weeks and in the first days I was greeted by groups of Victorian urchins who arrived to pick stones from the sun baked fields.
Different groups of pupils visit to learn about and experience what life might have been like for them had they being living in or close to the Workhouse 150 years ago and for others the life of evacuees during World War Two. I have been observing these activities much of the time, learning how the staff use the site and role -play to communicate these stories, I have been putting on costume and helping to deliver some of these sessions.
In more recent days the weather has not been so kind, but it adds to the immersive experience.
Animals in fairy tales generally come in threes, as I’ve discovered during the Three Little Pigs and Three Billy Goats Gruff days, where the structure of these stories is used as a starting point to exploring Gressenhall.
There have also been activities for adults to become involved in and the Learning department has been creating Hell hath no fury: A Murder Mystery, for Museums at night, in the last weeks there has been script development, costume making, rehearsals and stacks of organisation from everyone at the museum. I had the role of prompt and audience guide for one of the groups of the enquiring public.
All the hard work was worth it as it was a very successful two nights and great opportunity to see the museum in a different context.
Thank you to everyone at Gressenhall for being welcoming and helpful, especially Jan, Katie, Rachel, Anna and Ruth (and for all the lifts out to the Workhouse) I look forward to the rest of my Skills for The Future experience.
Gawain Godwin, Heritage Learning Trainee