Volunteering at Gladstone
Our latest blog was written by a student who’s been spending some time with us over the summer. We’re very grateful for all of her help and hard work.
My name is Lydia and I am a History student, who has just completed the first year of my degree at university. Over the summer of 2019, I have spent my Fridays volunteering at Gladstone Pottery Museum. For a while now, I have decided that I would like to work in the museum industry and learnt that volunteering at museums is one way of achieving this career goal. I decided to enquire about volunteering at Gladstone since I am interested in learning more about the heritage and history of my own home town (I’m from Staffordshire) and also because Gladstone is a museum that I fondly remember visiting as a child on a school trip and have always been interested in returning to as an adult with an increased passion for history.
Over my time volunteering at Gladstone I have embarked on numerous tasks, which have highlighted to me how working at a museum is never a boring day. One particular job that I enjoyed was helping transform the ‘1910 Office’ into two separate spaces of the ‘warehouse’ and ‘showroom’. This has been a process of researching both warehouses and showrooms through Gladstone’s photograph collection; working out what items could be used in the new display and whether on not they will be able to fit in the new space. This has been a particularly rewarding experience, as over the space of a few weeks two new exhibits have emerged, in which I have contributed to. Additionally, I have also been doing a lot of database work, which has been extremely valuable since it has taught me new skills but also gave me a chance to learn more about what archivists do on a daily basis, since this is another career path that I’m interested to potentially follow.
In conclusion, I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer volunteering at Gladstone as it has helped me reaffirm my beliefs that I would one day like to work in a museum or in archiving. I would also recommend work experience at a museum, in particular at Gladstone to anyone who has any interest in history, or like myself was curious about the museum industry, as it highlights to you what goes on behind the scenes of a working museum and what day-to-day challenges you could possibly face in this industry. Moreover, I would like to thank all the staff at Gladstone for being so welcoming and for giving me this immensely valuable experience and I would encourage anyone who is reading this to come and visit Gladstone Pottery museum since it is an insightful and enjoyable way of discovering the history of Stoke-on-Trent and the pottery industry.