Tag Archives: learning

Seat Of Learning

We have enjoyed a busy and well-travelled week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

We started the week by providing historical information on the Barwick Follies for a Radio Broadcast and then the week was centred on attending two South West Federation of Museums events. The first was the West of England Learning Symposium at the American Museum in Britain at Claverton Down, near Bath. Staff attended with volunteers.

Around 80 delegates attended the Symposium where the theme was “Measuring the Impact of Learning.” We enjoyed speakers in the morning on the theme of evaluation, followed by Case Studies from Bristol Culture and the Corinium Museum, Cirencester.

After lunch we shared a facilitated workshop on providing evidence for funding applications and sessions on formal learning and community engagement. These tended to be smaller discussion groups of 4 to 5 delegates with 5 minutes for each speaker to outline a project they would like to realise within their museum and then the other people in the group to suggest ideas to help. The only problem was that most of the time was taken up discovering all the exciting things about each everyone’s museums!

The second event was “Making the Most of Working with Young People and Schools” at the Dorset History Centre, Dorchester, Dorset. The day’s agenda identified how different organisations currently work with young people; introducing RIO (Real Ideas Organisation) our Trainers for the day; working with schools and current relationships and links to the curriculum. We also enjoyed a case study from the Learning and Access Manager at Poole Museum.

This training was useful for CHAC to see what we currently do to help young people in our community, including work experience and the Yeovil College Degree Students, but also to suggest other opportunities, especially links between the collection and specific parts of the curriculum, including gloving, First Flight Over Everest and changes over time in Yeovil using photographs.

Intriguingly, we also had a thank you from a local Brownie Group following an activity we delivered, further strengthening our links with learning and young people.

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Jack the Treacle Eater Folly, one of the Barwick Follies, photographed in the mid-1950s.

Praise for Preservation

A busy and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

This week staff received an insight from the Yeovil University Centre Students, which they suggested to share on the CHAC Weekly BLOG.

Our Experience at Yeovil’s Community Heritage Access Centre

“History is a continuous process of interaction between the present and the past”– Edward Carr

As third year degree students, it is thrust upon us to venture out into the professional world and dabble in some voluntary work to help us establish where we will move on to from the student bubble after graduation. As a student studying history, the prospect to be able to get up close and personal to artefacts and historical documents is just too good to miss. My peers and I were able to grasp this opportunity and have an enriched experience with the wonderful Clare and Joseph at the Community Heritage Access Centre in Yeovil.

Our CHAC experience opened our eyes at just how much time and effort is put into the maintenance, restoration and pro-longing the life of items and documents behind the scenes within the archives. Our journey started with the ‘simple’ idea of documenting items and recording documents within the accession register. “That’s pretty easy and straight forward” you would think. That is what we thought at the start of the session, surrounded by pretty photographs of the local area; scenes of fields, buildings and roads with the odd bustle of crowds in-between. Oh how wrong we were! When documenting an item such as a photograph, the whole scene has to be depicted. Here are just a few fundamental things one has to think of when doing so: What road could that be? Which building is that? Has that been replaced? Has it changed? If so, how? Where would that collection of fields be? (Wait, those fields look like the fields on the other end of town, so surely that building isn’t that building after all?) Who made the frame? What are its dimensions? Has it got a date? If so, when? Any damage at all? Any finger marks? Any dust? The list of possible questions could go on and on. The same applies for documents: When? How? What? Who? This then has to be documented and then written within the accession register. It was shocking how just a few pictures took up the whole session, and gave just a small insight into the running and up-keep into this particular element of the centre.

Another session which was eye-opening was the general care and maintenance of the artefacts themselves. The time, patience and up-keep of the individual items to extend their life really was astonishing. Clothing is vacuumed with a unique vacuum designed specifically for the conservation of clothing and materials (this can either be a tedious task or a therapeutic one). Ceramics are cleaned with a single cotton bud to ensure nothing is damaged (again, this is up to the individual whether the task is tedious or therapeutic) and metals are kept dust-free with specific cleaning agents. On top of all this for the artefacts themselves, the store is kept at a consistent temperature with the humidity being monitored closely to ensure mould is at bay.

It doesn’t end there. The staff and the volunteers in the access centre then prepare exhibitions, talks, appointments and show groups around the archives. On top of this, we were throwing around ideas for events in the local area to promote CHAC in all its glory. To many, the process behind the preservation of local history won’t cross their mind. Indeed, I was also naive and was not in any way prepared to learn how many hours, dedication and just pure passion for history has gone into the conservation of the archives for us to enjoy, love and learn our local history.

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Some of the work completed by the Yeovil University Centre Students.

CHAC Commemorates WWI Centenary

It’s been all quiet on the blogging front here at CHAC for a few weeks whilst we concentrate on our WWI Centenary Commemorations, however this does mean we have lots to blog about!

On the 4th of August, The Centenary of the outbreak of War, CHAC lead two sessions of children’s activities at two of the community halls in Yeovil. The activities included “poppy pom-pom” making, post-card decorating, emulating the sorts of postcards that may have been sent home from the trenches, and “trench art”.  All three activities we very popular, especially the post cards and the trench art. We also asked the children what makes them happy, and what words of encouragement they would give to thier families if they were soldiers fighting away from home, which made for some very heartfelt messages. Here are just some examples of all the creative things that came out of the sessions.

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Our “Trench Art” was inspired by the idea of soldiers in the trenches creating art works and mementos out of general rubbish they found in the trenches. Our trench art, however, was made from discarded cereal packets and loo roll tubes rather than shells and shrapnel!

 

On the Thursday of the same week, CHAC were back out again in the community with the first of our WWI community lectures. The first lecture was held at the South Street Day Centre in the heart of Yeovil and focused on different aspects of industry in South Somerset around the outbreak of war.

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Its never easy to compete with a beautiful sunny day, but never-the-less the lecture sparked some very interesting conversations and we were able to find out more about the family history of one South Somerset resident, who’s great uncle emigrated to Canada in order to sign up after being turned away by the British Army!

 

Our next lecture is being held on the 4th of September at Milford Community Hall in Yeovil.

We hope to see you there!