My name is Jack Doveton, I am 16 years old and I am starting Sixth Form at Bishop Wordsworth’s School this September. Having finished taking my GCSEs in the middle of last June, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. And in order to put this time to the best use, voluntary work at the Salisbury Museum seemed like a brilliant thing to do. After all, I am studying history at Sixth Form and possibly at university so the museum seemed like a particularly fitting place.
I have lived in Salisbury for most of my life so far, and so I had already been to the museum a few times in the past: in Year 7 for example I visited with my art class from school one afternoon to sketch artefacts. Aside from spending a small period of time as a school librarian, this was to be my very first work experience, so naturally I was excited yet slightly apprehensive before starting.
My placement, albeit short, entailed voluntary work at two of the museum’s key summer events: the Festival of Archaeology and the Discovery Days. So, after a brief visit and a string of emails, I found myself in the midst of the hustle and bustle which was the festival. As I put a bright orange lanyard around my neck, I realised that for the first time, I had responsibility. When the visitors were in doubt about something, they might turn to me, and so I had to act accordingly. Though in spite of being new to voluntary work, both afternoons of the festival turned out to be fantastic. I was very fortunate to be placed helping out with the running of the Lecture Hall, working with a friendly team of volunteers and even being able to watch the fascinating lectures. They’ve given me an unexpected, but nonetheless welcome, understanding of archaeological processes in the context of projects – from the restoration of the Mary Rose to Phil Harding’s excavation at the museum which have illustrated to myself (along with many others) just how interesting a subject it is. However, it wasn’t long until I was walking home on Sunday from the festival, and it felt as though the event had flown by. Soon after I went off on holiday, but when I arrived home it was time to go back for the Discovery Days.
In all, I was only able to help on the last two of the Discovery Days, but these events were, again, a new and enriching experience for me. As a young child, I had participated in many activity days like this, but this was my first experience helping to run such an event. On my first week, the theme was vegetable printing in a style resembling the work of Henry Lamb – but when over 30 children turned up that afternoon, mess was inevitably going to be produced. Despite that, I was once again placed with a friendly group of fellow volunteers and the event was fun to help with. The output of artwork was vast: vegetables of all shapes and sizes (and sometimes hands and feet) were used to make prints in all manners of styles.
In the following week, we were making collage portraits. That week, the emphasis seemed to be more upon quality than quantity, and although the turnout was slightly smaller, the children who were present rose to the challenge and used the watercolours, graphite, paper, pens and pencils to produce masterpieces.
I produced some Henry Lamb-inspired portraits of my own, which I was rather proud of, despite myself being somewhat so terrible at art, particularly drawing faces!
Yet again, I immensely enjoyed helping at an event. This recent work experience has certainly broadened my horizons and I hope to continue to volunteer at the museum: an enriching local institution for everyone.
Thank you Jack…