Aidan Gallagher

My placement was with the Nantwich Museum, which is a small local history museum in the historic Cheshire market town of Nantwich from October 2020 to March 2021. Unfortunately, due to the lockdown, I was only able to attend “in person” for a few weeks, after which I volunteered remotely, working on a series of projects allocated by the museum manager.

This was quite challenging for me.  I had to become very self-disciplined as I needed to work towards specific deadlines whilst also trying to attend online lectures, seminars and tutorials and course assignment deadlines. Initially, I was tasked with writing a self-guided walking tour of the Civil War battlefield sites of Nantwich, followed by an accompanying PowerPoint presentation, with dialogue, which could be seen by visitors to the permanent Civil War exhibition in the museum. I then needed to design some curriculum-related local history lesson ideas for key stages 1 and 2 which would be available on the museum website for local primary schools. I finally undertook a detailed website review of the museum website with suggestions for improvement.

Although I did feel a little frustrated at being unable to volunteer on-site, I did gain hugely from my experience. For example, my time-management and organisational skills were greatly enhanced, I learnt how to work to deadlines and produce attractive, professional quality products. I even gained some skills I wasn’t expecting, such as photography for the walking guide and an in-depth knowledge of the primary school history curriculum and lesson planning skills. I would highly recommend any other student considering a placement, both as a confidence booster, as a means of gaining valuable, relevant work experience and transferrable skills, together with a real insight into the area of work you may be considering in the future.