Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Let’s Torque about Norwich Castle

May 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Image taken from http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/Learning/Norwich_Learning/Teacher_Resources/KS2_Egyptians_and_Romans/index.htm

There was a new addition to the Norwich Castle Museum Education Department’s office when Holly and I arrived that morning – a Will and Kate paper doll set. A cheery note was left next to some blank paper, scissors and a pencil: “Feel free to create your own outfit!” So naturally, Holly and I spent our lunch break dressing up Will and Kate for their big day. We even built them a little castle of their own out of cardboard. Too bad I did not think to take a picture.

Other than that exciting tidbit, my second day at the Norwich Castle was spent in much the same fashion as my first. I did some more photocopying, and get this – they ask ME for computer help. Me, the woman who has a computer that breaks down every time she tries to turn it on. Apparently, the staff in the Education Department are not too computer savvy, and so they asked me to copy several CDs for them. The disks were filled mostly with pictures from activity days, but there were other documents as well. Much to my surprise, I was actually able to copy all of the files with no problem at all. It was quite the empowering moment. I was also asked to type up some of Daniel’s (my supervisor) text for the Norwich Castle Museum’s website. I do not think it has been posted yet, but maybe someday soon.

What time was not spent on office tasks was again spent on craft preparations. We made more torques and what look to be mini torques, but I haven’t been told their real use yet, so I cannot be certain what they actually are.

So far I have been back once already since completing my hours, but I plan to continue volunteering until I head home for New York in June.

If you are interested in learning more about the Education Department or just the Norwich Castle in general click on the link provided: http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/index.htm

Date: 29/4/2011

Supervisor: Daniel Pounds

Time: 9:30-3:30, 6

Total Hours: 21.5

Tags: 2010 Sarah

All Access Pass to the Norwich Castle

May 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Image taken from norfolk4families.co.uk

My first day at Norwich Castle began with a tour (led by our own Holly Bowers who also volunteers there) of the museum. We walked through several art exhibits, a section on wildlife and natural history, the torture chamber, and of course the castle keep. The museum has attractions for every generation, but its focus is primarily on young children. I found as I walked through that with the exception of the art exhibits, every room took a hands on approach. There were things for the children to touch and move around, making the experience fun and educational. The museum has a classroom for visiting schools and their own museum club programs. There is even a “picnic room” for the kids to eat their lunch in.

Image taken from myfinepix.co.uk

The rest of the day was filled with run of the mill office tasks like photocopying and preparations for the craft activities. The photocopies I made were put together in pamphlets to educate instructors about the museum club activities. They talked different approaches to teaching and learning and how the museum activities strives to foster that learning. They also provided several examples of sample lessons an instructor might try to incorporate into their activities.

The crafts were more fun to do – they reminded me of things I used to do in school and camp when I was a young child. One is an origami project, so Holly and I spent a lot of time folding paper. The other project we worked on was creating torques for their “Iron Age Day” out of wire.

Of course the coolest part of the entire experience was getting my own, all access, backstage pass, swipey card to the museum. We entered the museum through the employee only entrance and the security team fitted us out with identification badges and a key card that allows you entrance to all of the staff only doors. As you can imagine, I felt very important.

Date: 23/3/2011

Supervisor: Daniel Pounds

Time: 9:30-4, 6.5 hrs

Total Hours: 15.5

Tags: 2010 Sarah


May 8th, 2011 · No Comments

On 4th of February, I embarked on a remarkable journey- volunteering with the Norwich Brownies. If you do not know who the Brownies are, do not worry I didn’t either. The official title of the Brownies I volunteered with is Girl Guiding UK 38th Norwich Division Brownies. Essentially, the Brownies are the equivalent of the Girl Scouts in the States, ages 7 to 11.  The Girl Guiding organization was first initiated in 1910 by Robert Baden-Powell following the creation of the boy scouts at the crystal palace. In its centennial of existence Girl Guides and Brownies in particular has grown astronomically. Girl guides is currently the largest all girl organization in the UK. According to their website the mission of the organization is to teach young girls how to be honest, reliable, polite, considerate, respecting all living things caring for the environment, and to be helpful using their time and abilities wisely. They also want to teach girls to face challenges and learn from their experiences. Most importantly they want to teach guides to be good friends and sisters to all Guides. For more information on the origins of the guides and their mission feel free to visit their website. http://www.girlguiding.org.uk/about_us/centenary_2009_-_2010.aspx

Before I relay my first experience with the Brownies I want to establish my reasoning as to why I volunteered for the Brownies. First, as a child while in elementary school I always wanted to join an organization like the girl scouts; except I really wanted to join the boy scouts because they were allowed to go camping, however because of the lack of financial support this was never possible for me. Second, I have already decided in the past that a career in the field of children is not for me, but I wanted to give it one last go before I shut the door. Third, one of my flat mates is currently working with the Norwich Brownies, therefore making it easier for me to volunteer somewhere new. Which reason impelled me to volunteer with the Brownies more I can not say. The truth is they were all equal factors.

My first time volunteering with the Brownies was five hours. Now before you label me a horrible blogger by not providing any pictures I have to say in my defense that it is illegal (I really am unsure if there is a decree specifically saying this) for me to take pictures of minors in England. In any case of its legality I was asked not to do it by the leaders of the Brownie pack.  Now back to my experience, we (my flat mate Vicky and I) arrived at St. Thomas’ Church Hall around quarter past 5. Upon my arrival I was informed that the theme for the day was Chinese New Year’s.  By 5:45 pm the Brownies began to arrive. Most if not all were wearing their traditional uniform of yellow shirt with brown bottoms and a brown sash that contained all their badges. As they trickled in and ran around they reminded me of the Munchkins. From then on I referred to them collectively as the Brownie Munchkins.

I was caught off guard when the then leader Debbie “Brown Owl” asked me to form part of the circle to commence the session. Before I knew it the Brownie Munchkins began to line up form arches and skip around singing their Brownie pack song. Now if you know me, you would know that singing, skipping, and doing all sorts of girly stuff is not in my nature. However, I rolled with the event nonetheless as I was there to help.

Next came the theme stuff, otherwise known as celebration of the Chinese New Year. In order to celebrate the Chinese New Year the Brownies were to construct lanterns out of paper, write their name in Chinese characters, followed by egg fried rice. As you can guess the organization of the day was as stereotypical as you can get. There was no mention as to why the Chinese New Year occurs on a different day every year, or different from our new year for that matter.  The answer is that the Chinese mark the year in a lunar-solar system, and therefore the New Year happens on the 11th month or two new moons after the winter solstice. Besides, the girls not really learning anything about the Chinese culture on such an important day they had fun. It was definitely a success that none ended with their fingers stuck together.  By half 7 we were done and heading home. The other half of my volunteer work took place on Sunday morning mass in St. Thomas’ Church, to which only three Brownies made it.

Supervisor: Sam Hubbard

Volunteer hrs Completed on Feb 4th: 5hr

Volunteer Hrs to date: 5hrs

Tags: 2010 Jamie