Woss in my doctor’s bag….?!

Last week was a busy week in the Collections Gallery. We were working on large objects and plan chests.

We now have large objects installed on the  plinth at the temporary exhibition end of the gallery. This will enable us to plan what graphics will go behind these objects. We also moved plan chests around the gallery and the World War One one up from the farm. They are heavy and awkward. Many thanks to Barry, Dave Savage, Josh and Dave Harvey who all helped.

We have now re-installed the World War One case in the Collections Gallery and we have objects in the top of the unions case (this contains a range of items relating to George Edwards the famous Norfolk agricultural labourer – turned MP and trade unionist) and the health case (which includes a range of objects that were commonly found in a doctor’s bag – how many do you recognise in the picture – some of them might make you shudder!).

We are now moving on to updating their locations so in the future we (or someone else) can find all the objects in the cases. This had never been completed during the last re-display and took us over 3 years working with volunteers to audit the gallery before we de-installed. We are not making that mistake again!

We also measured and Dave made a large number of new wooden plinths for objects so they look their best in the cases. We hope to install these before the summer holidays. Next week we will be hanging objects and fixing them to the sides and backs of the cases.

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Wonderful week

This week’s blog comes from Jessie Hammond, from The Nicholas Hamond Academy, Swaffham, who spent last week with us on her work experience. Thanks for a wonderful week Jessie.

Hello, I’m Jessie-Kate Hammond and I’m currently at Gressenhall for my work experience placement. I chose Gressenhall as I thought it would be highly educational and very helpful towards my history GCSE.

On Monday at Gressenhall I was placed with the collections department. At the moment the department are focusing on the Collections Gallery and arranging amazing displays. I was working on the hobbies section which was very interesting. I had many tasks throughout the day, but two of which were my favourite. I was given lots of old fishing objects most of which were donated to the museum in the 1980’s/90’s, And I had to display them. They were very delicate items, and very fastinating. I also displayed an old pair of rugby boots, ice skates, a very old brown leather football, and various other balls from range of different sports. After displaying the objects I had to choose a selection of different fishing rods and hooks to be displayed. All of them were lovely but five caught my eye. They are now arranged beautifully in the display.

In the afternoon, I was asked to help build some old toys to go in the toys collection in the gallery. I had to build some very fiddly Bayko! I was given the instructions and was left to it! I loved it! I built the train station, to go alongside the shop and farm house Megan already made. The Bayko display is coming along nicely and I’m very glad I contributed to it.

On Tuesday at Gressenhall, I was working with the Events team, Miriam, Lara and Jane. The events team had a very busy week preparing for the Story Festival on Sunday which was focusing on Alice in Wonderland. My first job was to pin many posters up in the Learning Centre so the children had indication of the characters and what role they have in the story. My next task with the events team was creating decorations for the set of Alice in Wonderland. Miriam printed out various templates of petals and I created huge origami paper flowers, to represent the white flowers in the Queen of Heart’s castle. They are yet to be spray painted red ready for the day. Then in my last hour or so, I helped then research famous quotes from each main character to be displayed around the museum and farm for the children to find during the day.

On Wednesday at Gressenhall I was working at the farm across the road from the museum. I loved this because I got mucky and very into it! My first job down on the farm was to muck out the chickens! I had to get into their home and scrape everything out, and replace it with new straw bedding for them. I then helped a volunteer wash the Suffolk Punch horses’ mats that are placed under them in their stables. After lunch I then walked over the beautiful Suffolk Punch horse, called Jimbo so I could groom him ready for his cart rides later on in the afternoon. I brushed his mane and tail then I brushed him and shined him! They are so lovely and I enjoyed working with them! I then helped Richard and the volunteer to tack up the horses ready for the carts. Soon after I was on the carts listening to the information about the Suffolk Punches and helping the public on and off the carts and making sure they were safe. On the cart rides I learnt that.

  • There are only 500 Suffolk punch horses left in the UK
  • There are only 80 breeding males left
  • The 4 horses are called, Jimbo (the youngest, 11 years old.) Reggie (12 years old) Bowler (15 years old) and Trojan (the oldest, 17 years old). Trojan can’t do cart rides anymore due to his old age and arthritis.
  • They are very hard working horses and will become very ill if they aren’t worked often, they don’t like standing still.
  • They have very short and stubby legs, But they are very strong and can pull double their weight
  • They weigh a TON!

I then un-tacked the horses and washed them off as they were extremely sweaty! After having a stroke of the pigs, I fed the huge black pigs and I was told the female pig could be pregnant which was lovely! I also fed the ducks and the baby chicks which was nice too.

After having the Thursday off as I wasn’t feeling very well, the Friday definitely cheered me up! I was with the Learning Team. They are the people who design schemes and ways to engage children into wanting to read, learn about history and much more. These past few weeks they have been doing something called Once Upon a Time. This was a learning day for reception kids. It involved Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella and the wicked witch from Snow White! The idea was the museum were opening up a new exhibit with old fairy-tale items such as the golden eggs, the red cape, Thumbelina’s walnut bed, the glass slipper etc., And the wicked witch had stolen them as the curator didn’t invite her to the opening of it!

So all the tasks were based around the disappearance of the objects. First off the children had to go down to the farm to help Cinderella clean the cottage otherwise she couldn’t attend the ball! They engaged in singing activities and also helped the Ugly Sister Esmerelda do some gardening too and got a tractor ride around the farm! Next the children had lunch then went on an adventure with Jack to find the golden egg, and have a story time! Throughout this they did things like, going on the park and they made the children imagine it was the castle and they had to run away from the giant. It was done very fantastically! They then went with the wicked witch to make a potion to make all the objects come back. Once all the children had finished their activities they all went back to the chapel for the conclusion, which the actors/learning team did brilliantly! To see they had defeated the wicked witch, had all the objects returned and they went off home back to school! The Learning Team were fantastic and it was great fun getting to work with the children.

Overall my stay at Gressenhall has been a wonderful experience and has taught me various life skills, which weren’t only very beneficial to me but very fun to do as well! It was excellent!

I was very grateful for the opportunity to work here! Thank you all very much, you were such a great group of people to work with!