A sun-sational summer!

Bonjourno, Em again 🙂

As the summer holidays have now drawn to a sad but sunny end, I thought it’d be nice to look back at some of the exciting activities and workshops that went on at Ipswich Museums and talk about the role of Visitors Service (VS) throughout.

We had lots of children and young people visit the three Ipswich sites over the six weeks, with many participating in the events that we ran. In July we kicked off the summer holidays by hosting a day of activities to support the national Festival of Archaeology. Organised by Harjeet Kaur (Collections and Learning Curator), it consisted of several activities, such as weaving friendship bracelets, a treasure hunt trail around the Anglo-Saxon gallery, writing your name in runes and a sandpit set up for toddlers to dig for ‘finds’! The day was a real success with Volunteers and VS staff feeding back how the activities had gone down a treat.

The following week, our full summer programme got into full swing with events across the three venues. On Tuesdays we had ‘Saxon Summer’ running at Ipswich Museum, where visitors could make jewelled medals and brooches, as well as learn about Anglo-Saxon medicine rituals, magic and cures. There was also a workshop designing coins in the style of those minted by the Saxons, which was run by Emma Harper (Collections Information Programme Officer).

Wednesdays hosted ‘Art Skills’ at Ipswich Art School, with sessions focused on different art techniques, from painting and drawing skills to making prints and moulding 3D sculptures.

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Thursdays saw ‘Mansion Mayhem’ at Christchurch Mansion, including lots of practical activities like making shadow puppets, creating art inspired by the mansion’s Hawstead Panels and even an opportunity to have a go at Medieval Archery!

As well as their daily duties as excellent customer service providers, security guards and gallery supervisors, when it comes to running exciting events and fun activities, VS teams play a vital role within our museums. From answering enquiries and setting up rooms to caring for visitors on the day, they are essential to the smooth running of events. During the summer holidays, VS members were responsible for the collection of tickets from The Regent Booking Office in Ipswich, setting up and clearing away sessions, organising Volunteers and gathering evaluation on the visitor experience.

As part of our traineeship, we work on VS for 2 days each week and I feel extremely lucky to be part of this team. It enables us to interact with the public, assist with the running of schools or holiday workshops, and constantly better our understanding of the museums. Everyone on the team is so knowledgeable about our local history and the museum’s collections, I feel I have learnt so much whilst working with them and I really enjoy the customer-facing role. VS have a very open and supportive attitude, so help and guidance is always there and no question is a stupid question!

A big thank you goes out to all of the Curators and Artists who organised the fun events throughout the summer holidays and a special thanks to the Visitors Service team for always going above and beyond, helping our museums to be so fantastic!

Roll on October half term!

Em 🙂

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