Volunteers’ Week @ MUSA: Caitlin’s experience

This blog article comes from Caitlin Price, a student of Medieval History and Archaeology who recently joined the volunteer team at MUSA. 

I’ve luckily arrived at MUSA at an exciting time, with the arrival of the new Recording Britain Exhibition.

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Caitlin alongside some of the painting from the Recording Scotland collection

Within a few weeks of arriving I attended the opening of the exhibition and saw the excitement of the MUSA community in welcoming this fascinating new edition to the museum. For me, it was a great example of what MUSA does best; bringing small exhibits to life in an engaging way, and offering a great opportunity to the people of St Andrews – students, locals, tourists – to access history and learning on their doorstep.

For me, that’s why I was keen to join MUSA, because through it I’ve managed to combine my passion for St Andrews, the University and history. I’m a Medieval History and Archaeology student, but really, I’m someone who loves to learn and wants to give anyone the chance, even if it’s a passing visit to the museum, to know a little bit more about St Andrews, the University or history in general!

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The Medieval Mayhem event was a chance for staff and volunteers to let out their inner ‘big kid’

That’s why, albeit having only had a relatively short time at MUSA, a highlight of mine has been the ‘Medieval Mayhem’ event. Whether it was chainmail crafting, catapult making or a live re-enactment with weapons, it was a busy and exciting day! There were so many excited kids around (and I admit, I was one of them) and they were all enjoying seeing history made real. It was a great example of why I think MUSA is such a great part of St Andrews. It’s run by a great team of enthusiastic and hard-working people who make the museum a wonderful place to visit.

It’s been great that even in my short time at MUSA I’ve already had the chance to meet lots of other volunteers and staff. I’ve enjoyed meeting people who have the shared experience of living and or studying in St Andrews, as well as learning about people’s different backgrounds.

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One important part of invigilating the display is taking regular environmental readings to measure the humidity and temperature of the gallery

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Glass cleaning is a regular task for Front of House team members

There have been lots of opportunities to meet people, such as a staff social, the new exhibition opening, a tour of the collections and generally in and around MUSA. There’s definitely a lot of enthusiasm from everyone to be a fun and friendly team, which has made the experience of joining MUSA so welcoming!

A part of my volunteering is trying to make every visit enjoyable and engaging for the public, which is made easy by the friendly ethos of MUSA. I work mainly on the front desk, welcoming visitors and answering any questions, as well as invigilating the newest exhibition. Already, I’ve gained skills that I wouldn’t be able to pick up anywhere else, as well as an insight into the workings of a museum. Overall, it’s great to be a part of somewhere that seems to have a genuine passion to share history with people – something that I really love to be a part of!

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