Reflections from a Museum Internship
Anca Niţulescu is a student studying English Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is currently pursuing a career in Museum education.
By Anca Niţulescu
Having started to envisage a career in the Heritage sector whilst completing Goldsmith University’s Gold Award last academic year, I wished to develop my understanding of the industry with a focus on Heritage Education. With this in mind, I applied to join the Education volunteer team at The Charles Dickens Museum last February.
KS2 school visit to the Charles Dickens Museum
My Education volunteering role provided me with significant hands-on experience working with children of diverse ages and abilities through delivering guided museum tours, leading interactive kitchen activities, and assisting with taught workshops and family activity days. A few months into my volunteering role I was keen to develop my skills, build practical office experience, and further familiarize myself with the inner workings of a learning department within a museum. As a result of my dedication to the role and having expressed an interest in applying for the Education internship, I was offered a three month placement.
As an intern, I worked on various projects: looking after the administration of the busy schools programme, developing self-guided resources for families, testing and modifying content for a new Foreign Language trail, and assisting with the design process for a new suite of educational resources, to list just a few. The most memorable events I was involved in were the Museum’s book binding workshops at Bloomsbury Festival in which approximately 70 families took part, as well as a half term Family Activity Day at the Museum, for which I devised and delivered my own Victorian scrapbook activity. Through organising and leading activities on both of these days - managing volunteers, and devising craft workshops linked to collection-relevant themes - I developed further key skills, which have given me the confidence to work independently and to take on more responsibility.
Summer festivals: Cally Festival and Historic Houses Summer Fete at Leighton House 2015
To me, working with school children at the Charles Dickens Museum was most rewarding when employing storytelling and visual imagery as ways of teaching. For instance, as I was describing to them how the young Dickens, aged only 11, had to work in a blacking factory to support his family whilst his father was imprisoned for debt, I often noticed how touched the children were. My hope was to portray Dickens’s childhood in an inspiring way for children to pursue their own dreams, and to encourage them to expand their imagination and creativity through reading or writing, just as Dickens had. Knowing that I was successful in this aim is, for me, one of my biggest achievements.
School holiday activities: Scrapbooking
On reflection, every project and event I was involved in, no matter how big or small, brought me a step closer to understanding both the Museum and the sector, as well as to learning more about myself in a professional work environment. I have learnt not to be shy about asking for more responsibility and to be more confident in my own ability. I have also learnt to respect everyone’s expertise and am grateful for having valuable support and guidance regarding pursuing a career in Heritage Education from fellow colleagues, staff members and other museum professionals I was introduced to during my internship. In addition, I have felt very much a part of the Museum team and have made some new friends. For all of these reasons, interning at The Charles Dickens Museum has been a fantastic experience which has opened up further opportunities for me in terms of networking, training, and expanding my work experience portfolio. My Education internship at the Charles Dickens Museum has surpassed my expectations and I would definitely recommend it as a great insight into Heritage Education.
Easter holiday activities 2015
This blog takes you behind the scenes at the Charles Dickens Museum, giving fresh insight on everything from discoveries new and old in our collection, to exhibitions, events and learning initiatives.
You’ll be hearing from a variety of Museum staff and volunteers, as well as guest curators, academics, artists and Dickens enthusiasts. Why not join the debate and let us know you thoughts on the latest blog by using our hashtag #CDMBlog