Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

T-I-Double Ga-ER. That Spells…

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Tigger, who aside from being a bouncy tiger who hangs out with an overweight bear, undersized piglet, a couple of kangaroos, huffalumps, and woozels in a forest that spans a hundred acres, is also the name of my supervisor at the Greenhouse Trust.  The Greenhouse Trust was opened in Norwich in 1994 to educate the public of Norwich and Norfolk about “efficient and effective use of energy, land resources, water, transport, waste recycling and other environmental issues” among other things.  They operate out of a Victorian era printing office, which they have refurbished over the last 17 years to be a model for energy efficiency.  The building boasts two solar arrays, three solar hot water arrays, recycled paper insulation, cork wall framing, and a system for recycling rainwater for flushing toilets and washing dishes.

The Greenhouse Trust

They operate a cafe and a food shop, which sells everything from fair trade chocolate, hot chocolate and organic soap to organic wine, beer, whiskey, and sherry, plus various grains and other foodstuffs.  This is where I’m going to be working during my time at the Greenhouse.  My job is to run the till and to restock shelves, which I do with Tigger.  The shop doesn’t get many customers, so I have plenty of downtime to talk to Tigger about the Greenhouse’s goals and mission, or to read the plethora of environmental books and magazines that the shop stocks.

I expect this to be an extremely useful and rewarding experience.  Not only does the Greenhouse focus on two issues (alternative energy and fair trade) that I am passionate about, but it also provides a fantastic experience to learn about things like grey water usage and insulation that I don’t know much about.  It is a relaxed environment filled with great people.  I can’t wait to go back in two weeks to spend more time there!

Date: 19/03/11

Time: 10-2

Hours: 4

Supervisor: Tigger

Tags: 2010 MatthewM

A Day with the Tudors at Strangers’ Hall

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

I’ve been really lucky in my volunteering, as I’ve had the chance to explore both Norwich Castle and Strangers’ Hall, and it has been a lot of fun. This week I helped with Tudor Day at Strangers’ Hall, which is really a beautiful building.  It doesn’t look like much from outside, but inside there’s a feasting hall, stone passages – very cool. It’s the kind of place that I would have loved to let my imagination run wild in when I was younger. Our ‘time-travelers,’ as one of the interpretors refers to the visiting students, this week were nine year-olds from West Earlham School, and they were supposed to imagine that they were Strangers from the Low Countries who had come to Norwich in the year 1565. They were welcomed by Sir Thomas Southerton, the mayor, and he told them that some locals might not take kindly to them because they were viewed as a threat to Norwich’s weaving trade.

Like the other days when I’ve volunteered, there were four rotations – in one the students learned about feasting and cooking in Tudor times, in another they learned dancing, in the third they got to try on Tudor costumes and talk about how we know what the Tudors dressed like, and finally their craft was making a loom and doing a bit of weaving. They seemed to really take to all of the activities. I helped out with the costumes in the morning – I was in charge of getting the girls dressed. So I would introduce myself as their lady in waiting and help them with buttons, laces, the works. We had a few dress as servants, and then a few fine ladies who needed to be tied into bodices, helped with petticoats, the works. Once all of the students were dressed, the interpretor would take them through all of the parts of their outfits. They looked absolutely fantastic, and it was really fun.

In the afternoon I helped with the weaving activity, so handing out materials, helping tape yarn in the right places, and teaching the ‘over-under’ method of weaving. It was a ‘fiddly’ activity, but it went pretty well. I think that it was a really successful day for the kids, and I really enjoyed helping. I’ve also had a great time getting to know the interpretors. Our lunches always involve several cups of tea and a chat about something historical. The other week people were actually debating whether or not the Romans or the Iceni had a better claim to Norwich. The people who work these programs are really passionate about what they do, and it’s great to see. Unfortunately the budget is being cut for next year, so there will be less interpretors to run all of the different activities. This means that Museum Services is going to have to consolidate some of their programs, which is a shame because the students seem to take to these days really well. It’s the difference between reading a textbook and getting to use your imagination to bring history to life, which I think is so important.

Date: 17/3/2011

Time: 9:30-2:00

Total Hours: 17

Supervisor: Daniel Pounds

Tags: 2010 Holly