In my earlier blog post I introduced myself (Visitor Experience Intern) and the Archives/Collections Interns, Josh and Helen. But there are more friendly, new faces at Quarry Bank, as Learning Interns, Sarah, Suzanne and Laura, are working hard to give school groups and children fantastic, and of course educational, days out.
I now hand over to Sarah, who tells you a little more about what the girls get up to on a daily basis…
Generally, as I come in on a closed day and an open day, I spend one day doing admin things in the office, answering the phones, sending emails, booking in schools and coming up with timetables for their day and doing invoices. On the days when we have schools in I’ve been shadowing guided tours but I’m about to start guiding them myself – ahh! However there’s no such thing as an average day in the Learning Office and you never can predict what’s going to happen or what you’re going to get up to, which is why I love it!
I love being super busy and enjoy admin work, as I’m naturally very organised haha. I like the fact I get to talk to lots of different people too and I love working with children. I think my favourite day so far was actually the day I got thrown in at the deep end when Julie (Quarry Bank’s Learning & Interpretation Assistant) wasn’t in and I had to take responsibility for the Learning Office. It was a little stressful at first and I felt a bit like a headless chicken but everything went well in the end and it actually gave me confidence, making me realise that I do know what I’m doing (after people reassured me I didn’t look like a headless chicken!).
Suzanne told me she is loving working in a busy heritage Learning Office and experiencing the similarities and differences to her previous job of primary school teaching.
This week, being half-term, Quarry Bank is without the usual chaotic cheer that the schoolchildren bring. However, the learning team have enjoyed seeing children make the most of Quarry Bank with their families. Throughout the week the interns have been helping to put on half-term craft activities, including making Shaun the Sheep wild art and origami animal trackers. I caught up with Becky, a volunteer in the learning department, who was helping today in the family activity room.
I can honestly say volunteering at Quarry Bank has been a really enlightening and rewarding experience. I’m able to get hands on experience and share my passion for all things heritage with hundreds of children on some days. What I really enjoy is being part of such a varied learning program, which allows children to learn about industrial heritage in an interactive way.
I also enjoy getting parents and teachers directly involved with demonstrating life at Quarry Bank Mill through role playing and acting as if the children are apprentices working in the Mill. We assign the children jobs, such as carrying the can or doffing the mule and then pay the apprentices’ wages in the Mill Manager’s Office (imaginary of course).
Working with children is never predicatble. Here are the Learning Interns funniest moments with the school children so far:
1) When walking up the hill to the Apprentice House, one little girl who found it all a bit too exhausting exclaimed, “It must have been so hard being a Victorian, they had to walk up and down and left and right all the time!”.
2) Becky was surprised that when she asked a group of schoolchildren, “Do you think you would you like to work in the Mill?”, they all screamed yes.
3) And my favourite, a not so flattering question the Learning Interns often get asked, when giving tours around the Mill is, “Did you used to work in the mill?”.
If you’re interested in intern or volunteer opportunities for the National Trust check out the links below.