My Work Experience at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum
By Sarah Shepherd
Hello – I am Sarah Shepherd and I am currently on work experience at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum. I am having a great time here as I love history and I am doing a range of fun, museum based tasks. Here are a few of the things I have been up to:
During my first few days of work experience, I was tasked to create a sheet for visitors to be given to them when they are at the reception desk, letting them know what I think are the highlights of the museum. With this project came quite a lot of research, so I spent time in the museum making notes about possible exhibits I would like to include. I was aided by a highlights sheet that someone has produced in the past, but I altered the highlights slightly. I gathered a list of about twenty-five exhibits that I would like to include, along with some detailed annotations. When I started to word process the information about the highlights I had chosen on a computer, I soon realised that I would have to cut down the amount of highlights to make it fit onto two A4 pages and still being large enough for visitors to read! Therefore, I cut the highlights down to fourteen, which was very difficult! Along with the highlights, above each of them, I wrote a brief sentence or two about the directions to get to each highlighted exhibit. Also, at the bottom of the second page of highlights, I created a map of the first and second floors, along with arrows to point out where each of the highlights I chose are. It was really fun and interesting to write about each of my favourite exhibits in detail.
On my second day of work experience at the museum, I was asked to write a paragraph for “The Object of the Month” blog. The paragraph I was asked to write was about what happened to the men that signed up to join the army at the Victoria Barracks in Bodmin during August 1914. This task included doing some research about the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry battalions that were created in the August and September of 1914, and also about the soldiers that joined already existing battalions. As this was a research task, I found it very interesting and it was fun to write about a topic I am very interested in (You can read ‘Object of the month: August’ on our Blog).
On the first Thursday of my work experience, I was tasked with going up into the attic and writing down the location of each picture that was hanging on the wall up there. Flora, a volunteer, and I took every picture off the wall, or if there was a label visible, we’d use that, and wrote down the unique code on the back of the pictures or label. Some of them, however, didn’t have a code written on them, so “no number” is the phrase we would write down. This was a great task as I was able to see the great collection there is at the museum, and there was a lot of history!
In the afternoon of the same day, I was given the task taking a large card-board box worth of medals (mainly sporting or shooting achievements) out of their medal boxes and into plastic bags with air holes, along with information, if there is any, about each medal. I also had to write down the number on the medal box, or failing that, a brief description of every medal I came across. I absolutely loved this task, as behind each medal there is a bit of someone’s history. I especially liked the medals that had details about the owner, as it is more of a personal experience. This task took me a while, probably because I was reading each of these medals so thoroughly! This has been one of my favourite tasks as it was really interesting and exciting!
On the first Friday of my work experience, Marketing Manager Sophie gave me the opportunity to write a social media post about one of the exhibits at the museum; the large “Duke of Cornwall” window. There was next to no information about the pub that this window came from, but luckily, Collections Manager Verity aided me with a book of the history of local public houses. After I’d written the post, Sophie put it up on social media, and we received quite a lot of comments from locals. This was a really interesting task, and was nice to receive extra information from locals who knew about the pub. (You can see it on Facebook, here!)
At the start of my second week at the museum, I was given a project regarding medals. The task involved identifying all of the medals in the Armoury, and writing a small paragraph for each about its origin along with a picture. This may seem like a simple task, but believe me, this task was extremely challenging! I was, however, aided by two books and the internet. On Monday morning, I started to identify the medals in the Armoury, starting with the Victoria Cross cabinet. After about seven medals in, I was already in trouble! I had stumbled upon a Cross of St George; a decoration from imperial Russia.
I found the Cross of St George in one of the medals books I had, but the medal in the museum had a lot of the engravings rubbed off, and therefore, I just wrote a question mark along with a brief description. The Cross of St George was the final medal identified, with some help from Verity! After identifying all of the medals, I had the mammoth task of researching and writing about all of these medals. I finally finished on the Wednesday afternoon! Although this was the most challenging of the tasks, it was one of my favourites as now I can identify campaign medals just by looking at them!
On the second Thursday of my placement, Flora and I again went through some medals, but this time the medals were mainly campaign medals and decorations. As mentioned above, at the start of this week I had written a booklet about all of the medals in the Armoury, so by this point I knew my campaign medals and decorations pretty well! Every time I opened an envelope of medals, I could recognise them instantly, which was really exciting! I came across some Military Medals, a Crimea medal with four clasps, lots of World War One and World War Two campaign medals, and some Long Service and Good Conduct medals, along with many more. Learning the origins of these medals, and then being able to sort through them was absolutely brilliant!
In conclusion, I have had a fantastic time on my work experience at Cornwall’s regimental museum and I would recommend it to any history lover in the future. I would like to thank everyone that has made my work experience so enjoyable.