Curator for a week

a student stands by a shelf of boxes and is posed pulling a box from the shelf she is wearing blue gloves
Work experience student exploring our Store. Courtesy of Dacorum Heritage.

For many schools in Dacorum, the week of 10th July is Work Experience Week. This year two pupils from Ashlyns School came to Dacorum Heritage to contribute to our museum mission!
Emmy and Emily spent the week being ‘museum curators’, learning the art of museum curation and thinking about how museums in the future might connect to their local communities. At the end of the week, they gave a presentation of their ideas, alongside everything they had learned, to our board.
We tasked them to create a display for our case in Berkhamsted Library around a theme of their choice. They chose the theme of ‘Berkhamsted High Street over time’ and we encourage you to visit and see the items that they selected to display.
From all of us at Dacorum Heritage, we would like to thank Emmy and Emily for their work and wish them well in their future studies.

This is what they had to say about their experience with Dacorum Heritage.

Doing my work experience with Dacorum Heritage has been a fantastic opportunity and I was able to find out many useful things which will help me in the future. For example, we were taught how to look for artefacts in the stores which was really interesting and something I will never forget. I also learned how to create a display which helped me to understand the hard work which goes into doing this.
From creating the new display, I have gained a new interest in the history of Berkhamsted, particularly the evolution of the High Street which we did our display on. In order to find the artefacts we wanted to use for our display, we were taught how to use the software MODES. This made me realise how many different artefacts there are in the collection and how important it is to take care of them, giving me a newfound appreciation for curators and what they do for our community.
By doing a presentation together at the end of the week, I have become more confident speaking in front of people and it has been a great way to finish the experience, summarising what we have done. My work experience week has made me realise how much I love learning about history and given me an amazing insight into what I want to do as a future career.

Personally, my week at Dacorum Heritage was amazing. I got to learn so much about what happens in a museum behind the scenes. For example learning how to safely handle the artefacts to put together a display. The ability to learn how to do this was unlike anything I could have expected. It was much more work than I first thought, particularly picking the items took a considerable amount of time.
This whole process has given me so much more respect for curators as I didn't realise just how hard looking after collections can be. The experience of creating a social media post was also a great opportunity as I had the ability to help educate others in a fun and engaging way. Overall, my work experience week was a great opportunity, and I would one hundred percent do it again.

If you know a student, studying in Dacorum, who may be interested in carrying out their work experience with us next year, please look out for the notice for applications in Spring 2024.


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