You know that feeling you get when you’re reading a really good book and you know there’s only a few pages left, but you’ve really enjoyed it and part of you doesn’t want the book to end, but part of you wants to know the ending. Well, that’s a bit like how I’m feeling as I write this blog.
Our Visitor Inclusion Project is coming to a close. For 29 days over the past three months, our volunteers have been engaging visitors with archaeology whilst improving the standards of our archaeological collections. And it’s been excellent. However, these projects don’t just happen just like that. Behind the scenes, loads of different people across many departments of the museum have helped create this project. So lets get those credits rolling:
The project first began 9 months ago when we checked out whether we could run our Visitor Inclusion Project in the Archaeology in Action exhibition. The project managers in our Programmes department gave the go ahead and those nice box office people helped us book the spaces.
The museum’s collections care manager was then contacted and allocated us some storage space for our project so that we could keep our equipment and boxes of archaeology safe and secure and then we needed to sort out some way of transporting all the material from our archive in Shoreditch to the Barbican site.
Our amazing van driver Tim Ellis sorted this out. We booked him in for every Thursday of the project and he has been helping us go back and forth with around 40 boxes of archaeology each week. Our archive’s security guard, Sami, along with Tim also help us load up the van each Thursday – both are top blokes! Thanks!
We then wanted to create some publicity. Our museum designers in the Design department came up with some great banners that we’ve had on display throughout the project, our Event officers allowed us to be part of their programme and publicised us in their promotional material and our Press & Marketing officers have done a sterling job getting our events onto various web site listings and publications such as Time Out. They also helped promote aspects of our project on Twitter and Facebook – much appreciated guys. Thanks!
Then there’s the technical stuff – we’re still grateful to our technicians who made our incredible table way back during our first Visitor Inclusion Project. For this project we’re also grateful to the electricians and AV folk who assisted us in getting some extra cabling in the space so our light boxes and AV stuff could work.
Thanks should also go to our Finance Officers who dutifully assist us each day in reimbursing our volunteers with their travel expenses.
And we definitely have to mention our Visitor Services department, who not only happily make announcements advertising our workshops each day, but very kindly let us borrow their Ipad for the three months to help explain our objects to visitors.
Special thanks should go to the Conservation Department intern, Jill Saunders, who not only has been explaining conservation techniques to visitors for the past 10 Mondays, but organised the help of her fellow UCL students, scheduling them in and making them feel welcome each week. Along with Jill several members of the conservation department have also lent a hand during the project so thanks to them too.
A massive thanks to Andy & Chris who have manned our Osteology table on Tuesdays. Between the pair of them they have engaged with thousands of visitors and are just brilliant. Thanks too to the museum osteologists for letting us use their collections.
And an enormous thanks to Alan Thompson, who came out of retirement, to return to his former employers and his former excavation – GPO75. It has been truly a pleasure to have had Alan join us during this project. Huge thanks to his wife, Jan, also, who has been conducting Exit Questionnaires with visitors each week.
It goes without saying that I want to thank my fellow LAARC staff for taking time out of their busy work programmes to join in during this Volunteer Inclusion Project, sharing their expertise and providing support for our volunteers. Which leads me nicely on to…
A big big big THANK YOU has to go to our excellent VIP10 volunteer team; Benji, Braena, Carl, Carol, Graham, Jim, Jon, Katerina, Margo, Maria, Pam, Sunny,& Yulia. Not only have they done a superb job in presenting archaeology to visitors, they’ve improved the packaging of over 200 boxes of archaeology. But most importantly, they have been outstanding ambassadors for the museum and for volunteering.
Finally, a huge Thank You to the thousands upon thousands of visitors, of all ages and from all over the world that have stopped by our tables and chatted to our volunteers. Special thanks should go to the numerous visitors that have partaken in our Hands-On Archaeology workshops and helped contribute to the upkeep of our collections.
And that’s almost it. Only Friday left…