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Hello from North Wiltshire! My name is Katharine Searle-Barnes and I’m in Year 10 at Malmesbury School, which is in the ever-growing small market town of Malmesbury (however it used to be the capital of England during King Athelstan’s reign!).

I am starting my GCSE courses and one of the options I took was History. I have always had a passion for it and so decided to come to Salisbury Museum for a week of work experience.

Whilst I was here, I partook in a number of activities, from making boxes so the artefacts are kept safe (see above – a picture of me making boxes for the artefacts with volunteers Mary and Roger- it gave me a chance to work on my Maths skills!), to helping out in the museum’s big spring clean. I really enjoyed doing that as being inside a costume display case has always been on my bucket list!


All the nice girls love a soldier

On my first day I had two spotlight tours from volunteers Catherine and Rodney, which made me realise how little I knew, not just about Salisbury itself, but Wiltshire in general. These new facts were useful as I could then talk knowledgably with my local cousins, whom I have been living with.

Doing the spring clean of the costume galleries was slightly nerve racking as we didn’t want to break anything and had to make sure even if we nudged a single object out of place it was put back in its official position. Although we got to clean on the inside the cases, it was also required on the outside. Above is a picture of me wiping some fingerprint marks off the glass!

After sanitising the costume galleries, it was time to start costume cataloguing. I had never done this before and textiles has never been much of an interest to me – however by the end of the day I knew an awful lot more about bonnets! I was in the costume store quite a bit during my placement – and I never want to see another bonnet for the rest of my life. It was interesting, however, to see how fashion has changed over history – but am I glad I’m not expected to wear some of those things nowadays.

As Thursday was the end of my student placement (it was Good Friday the next day) I would just like to thank everyone who helped make my week as good as it was – you have all given me a great idea of what life is like working behind the scenes in a museum.

Katharine Searle-Barnes, Malmesbury School

Thank you Katharine.  It was good to meet you.