Work experience in a Museum? Really?

Katie completed a week’s work experience at the museum and during this time planned her own mini exhibition, helped with a VIP visit and press photo shoot and attended a social media planning meeting! Here are her thoughts on her week – it looks as though she might be a convert!

This week I have been doing my Year 10 work experience week at the MERL (Museum of English Rural Life.) This has exceeded my expectations of museum work and I have been given the opportunity to explore the background and workings of a museum – from social media and marketing to learning about the archives and different objects in the museum and how they are preserved! I have been reminded that a working environment can be fun and here at the MERL there is a strong relationship between staff members and volunteers. With a coffee break at 11am every day staff members are given the ability to catch up on each others’ work and socialize. I love the idea of bringing people together as they may not see each other throughout the day with such spread out offices throughout the museum.

The museum is currently undergoing a redesign and extension of its original galleries, with a grant of £1.7 million from the Heritage Lottery fund. The museum’s aim is to attract more visitors from the general public with a wider range of new audiences from different communities and ethnic backgrounds, with an exciting new opening of the building in 2016. I am confidently certain that they will be able to achieve this aim; this is just by working alongside them for one week and seeing all the hard work that they put into the MERL and the future plans.

Rural Life clothing exhib
Katie chose to focus her exhibition on rural clothing as she felt it was something that may not automatically spring to mind when speaking about the countryside. Smocks, baskets, a tailoring bag and even goffering irons; which were used for creating decorative crimps and frills on women’s clothing, would all be included

What intrigued me the most at the Museum of Rural Life is their use of social media; as well as the general use of Facebook, the MERL is also on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and even has a YouTube channel, you name it! With regular posts on each social networking site, followers are able to keep up to date with the ins and outs of the museum, with many pictures, gifs and hashtags included in posts, such as ‘#throwbackthurdsay’ and ‘#ilovemuseums!’ The social media and marketing team are devoted to these social networking sites and work hard to keep them going by researching the most popular hashtags and ones that are to do with the countryside, along with the themes of the museum. I think that the social media really benefits the museum in many different ways especially as most people nowadays are on at least one social networking site!

I have enjoyed my time at the MERL and plan to visit when it reopens in 2016!

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  • Visit us

    Visit Us

    We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to The MERL galleries from Tuesday 18th May.

    Free admission. Please book a timed slot.

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

    Book now