Daventry Museum Work Experience Blog – October 2021

By Clara Woodhead, Work Experience Student from Rugby High School

When the school told us to look for work experience, I was initially worried. Being interested in history, and the current state of affairs being as it is, I was concerned that not a lot of museums would be open or willing to take students on, but to my delight, Daventry Museum was just that.

Expecting to be given mundane admin tasks, and coffee-making duties, I was pleasantly surprised to be given the responsibility of researching and creating a Halloween display and activity. After a brief tour of the premises and an introduction to the volunteer on site, I was handed a collection of spooky memorabilia and set off to task. The time in the office flew so fast, it barely felt like an hour before I had finished the first day. The combination of the lovely staff I spent the week with, and the interesting nature of the task made the experience thoroughly enjoyable. 

The next day, I arrived at the museum at its opening, ready to work. The day was the first properly autumnal one, and the brisk weather really put me in the mood for completing the installation of the Halloween activity. Following a quick tutorial by Sophie (the Museum Officer) on how to use the laminating machine, I set off laminating and guillotining my information cards (something my friends were very impressed by). Then, after examining the exhibits, I set up the spooky decorations around the main hall and smaller food themed section, placing the cards next to similarly themed items such as ghosts near a sign from the Wheatsheaf Hotel (come and visit the museum to find out more). Encouraged by the lovely volunteer of the day and some enthusiastic visitors, I had completed my task.

On my final day, I arrived at the museum feeling energised, ready for my next responsibility. Sophie’s task for me was to look through a collection of donated items, researching and compiling them, ready for an upcoming Christmas exhibition. This was a truly fascinating experience, in which I learnt not only lots of rationing recipes, but that Reading was home to the first ever biscuit tins. Following this, my final task of the experience was to take inventory of a collection of Daventry District Bowls Club memorabilia, in which I found some interesting items. 

To leave the museum was a bittersweet moment: I was left partially with a sense of achievement and partially with sadness to be leaving such a welcoming place. All of the staff at Daventry Museum and the Town Council were so kind and generous, and even in a mere 3 days I felt like a part of a team. Thank you to Sophie for providing this opportunity, and I highly recommend making a visit to investigate some of the local history on show at Daventry Museum.

Clara pondering the question of whether King Charles I followed the ghost’s advice…!