Such a lot has been going on!
Tuesday 12th we hosted the SHARE Museums East Volunteer Coordinators’ Forum to share some of our learning about managing volunteers from the rest of the region.
Llanfyllin Workhouse, north Wales. Well worth a visit!
Monday 18th we visited Llanfyllin Workhouse in north Wales for the meeting of the Workhouse Network and had a fabulous day learning from each other, including discussion of workhouse escape rooms and the role of workhouse sites in contemporary issues such as poverty, mental health and welfare. We learnt about the National Trust’s contemporary performance piece called Dangerous or Otherwise, created by The Workhouse, The Bare Project and Newark Emmaus Trust. It brought together contemporary stories of homelessness into the empty infirmary building at Southwell in new and interesting ways. See their website for more details:
Pebbles used as part of the Dangerous or Otherwise performance installation at The Workhouse, Southwell
On Tuesday 19th we celebrated our fabulous volunteers and their wonderful contribution to the museum with the Great Gressenhall Trail. Unwitting volunteers were invited to take part in a school holiday trail with a difference. Once they had traipsed all over the building finding out about the different contributions they make to the museum they were awarded with an “I’m a GREAT Gressenhall volunteer” badge as a prize and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch put on by the café.
Photograph of Loddon and Clavering Union Workhouse.
On Wednesday 20th I entertained 30 members of the Loddon and District Local history Group with a Voices form the Workhouse talk. They were especially interested to hear about the history of their local workhouse – Loddon and Clavering. Like Gressenhall it started as a House of Industry. Riots broke out and inmates tried to set fire to the building when it became a Union workhouse in 1836. In the 20th century it became a home for those with severe learning difficulties and didn’t close until the early 1990s. It has now been converted into luxury flats, but we are lucky enough to have been donated a range of furniture and records of life in the institution from the union period onwards right into the 20th century when it was known as Hales Hospital. One of the stars of this donation is an oil painting of the union workhouse painted by the porter and now on display in the Board Room at Gressenhall.
And we have still been working on the Collections Gallery too! Working together with Dave Savage over the last week and a half we have installed new objects and added plinths to others. We have also completed our count up of labels and extra graphics – 185 in total!