My name is Jack, I am 17 years old and am studying for my A-Levels at Bishop Wordsworth’s School.
Having helped in the summer with the museum’s Festival of Archaeology and then with the children’s activity events in August, I had hoped to find another volunteering role to undertake at the museum from September onwards.
Engagement volunteering was undoubtedly an excellent activity to help with. After some organisation, it was confirmed that I was to come into the museum on Fridays after school at 4pm, shadowing engagement volunteer Ian Dixon. My role was simply to help welcome visitors to the museum and show them the exhibits, which first involved learning about the collection. However, because I was only present at the end of the day on Friday, the museum tended to have relatively few visitors. This fortunately meant that there was more time to learn about the fascinating exhibits in the museum.
I enjoyed learning a great deal about prehistory and local history which was hugely fascinating. I feel that the exhibits in the Wessex gallery are particularly interesting. Favourites included the Warminster jewel in addition to the polished Neolithic axe, not just for their physical beauty, but for the brilliant stories which they and many other exhibits hold.
And then there is of course the Amesbury Archer, which I believe is the greatest exhibit in the museum in that it reflects most clearly what I believe is the greatest appeal of archaeology to us: how the mere physical remains of something can incite so much speculation and imagination in their interpretation. Ian frequently told visitors about the exhibit in my presence and so by the end of my time as an engagement volunteer I could essentially explain all of the features of the artefact to the public which was great. Also, the relatively small number of visitors meant that we were able to spend more time helping particular visitors to explore the museum more thoroughly.
I was also fortunate to be at the museum when there were a number of excellent temporary exhibitions, of which the exhibition of hoards was my favourite. Furthermore, I got on very well with Ian and very much enjoyed shadowing him, and it was great to volunteer with Nick as well. My time at the museum was very useful as it helped me gain further experience working around members of the public and I have learnt so much about our local history and archaeology. Thank you.
Thank you Jack