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.


Mike & Trojan explain the role Suffolk Horses and the Men who worked with them played in Victorian agriculture

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 the potato field there’s hoeing and scruffling to be done

In more recent days the weather has not been so kind, but it adds to the immersive experience.


Storm clouds roll in as children hoe and Ben, Steve and Trojan make their way up and down the rows



Trojan doesn’t appreciate the hailstones

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.



Out in the wild wood; the children build trolls that live under bridges and houses of straw and houses of sticks for pigs


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.


Rehearsal in the Chapel; Katie is overcome by Jan’s accusations

 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.


The haunting atmosphere of the laundry surrounds Anna in her role as Mary the unmarried mother


Outside the Chapel at night

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.



Better than getting the bus: The Merc

 Gawain Godwin, Heritage Learning Trainee


3 thoughts on “Learning

  1. Is the Merc the latest acquisition for the museum Ruth? Great blog Gawain, keep up the hard work and here’s to a happy and helpful traineeship!

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