World War I History Week - October 2017

I say curatorial, this time it's a bit of a curatorial/education hybrid because over the last few weeks in September I was working alongside our Education Officer Caroline and Education Trainee Alice in preparation for World War One History Week.

This is the second year I have taken part in the week-long event delivering a variety of workshops and sessions to school groups, all based around the First World War. Not to be biased at all, but I wish I had been able to attend something like this when I was at school! Alongside the education staff and myself, costumed characters helped us to deliver sessions in purpose built sets which were seamlessly integrated into the museum. While the effect was incredible, this also required a lot of preparation and organisation to run smoothly.

The end result is worth it though, as parts of the museum are transformed and school groups were transported back in time to 1914. The sessions on offer included the field hospital, where the schools learnt about the different ailments suffered by soldiers in the First World War (expertly demonstrated by a team of volunteers from the local Army barracks at Kineton). The groups were each assigned a patient and had to diagnose each issue while figuring out how it may have been treated back in 1914.

Unlike previous years we also had a replica Mark IV tank (you may recognise from War Horse). Our tank commander brought to life the struggles of those who worked with and in the tanks of the First World War.

Schools were also invited to meet our tommy in the trenches and able to learn about the battle bus, even going onto it to meet our driver as well as experiencing First World War recruitment and learning about plastic surgery techniques.

With all of that going on, my role in this very busy (and very long!) week was more on the curatorial side. Through object handling workshops I was charged with teaching the children about the manufacture and inner workings of the shrapnel shell and highlighting the importance of the motor industry during the wartime, as well as the resultant developments in helmets and protection

Throughout the weekend the objects and ‘sets’ for the rest of the workshops (alongside numerous additional Military related activities and stands) remained in action for members of the public to also enjoy over our British Military Weekend. Despite catching a bit of a cold towards the end of the week, it was interesting to have a bit of a change of scene from the store and to be working with some different people as well as working with the schools and seeing how enthusiastic they are about the objects! But after a very exciting, if not intense, couple of weeks I am glad to be returning to what I do best and have already started cataloguing again in the stores!

  • Visit England Gold Accolade