This blog articles comes from Hannah Sycamore, a final year student who volunteers at Learning and Access events at MUSA.
I began volunteering in September 2014 and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience. I volunteer primarily with the Learning and Access Team, facilitating and (every once in a while) running the child and adult activities. I especially enjoy the art and crafts aspect of many of the sessions, creating simple but effective Christmas craft ideas for the adult programme and archaeology inspired foil necklaces for the children’s programme. I find the children’s activities especially rewarding; it is great to see how much they engage with the activities! I also enjoy volunteering for the evening lectures. Although it can involve arranging a lot of chairs (my arm muscles get ever stronger!), I love talking to the participants and find I always learn something new and exciting.
I most recently volunteered at the museum’s Young Archaeologist workshops and this month we focused on the Aztecs. Although there were a range of educational and craft activities, the children certainly seemed to enjoy the mock-sacrifice ceremony the most! Another highlight was the Flore Gardner embroidery workshop; I am very proud of the sewing skills I taught to the current Learning and Access Curatorial trainee!
I have to admit that I was also pleased to be selected to be on the cover of the January-June 2015 MUSA What’s On Guide. AHA! Fame at last! The picture is taken from a Gigantic Bodies event and there is most certainly some very intense colouring in progress! I wasn’t even aware a photo had been taken until days afterwards.
Essentially, I love the variety of activities available within MUSA’s programme and the range of events this allows me to become involved in: from creating a gigantic body for the recent doctor’s exhibition and artist inspired workshops, to lectures and young archaeologist sessions. I think it is this variety which makes volunteering so enjoyable; I interact with so many different people within the museum. The experience I have had at the museum has been invaluable and has helped me secure my current summer internship, working at a National Trust property as an Education and Outreach Assistant.
In my opinion, the museum is a fantastic space and the Learning Loft, where many of the events on the family programme are held, is a wonderful space to be creative in. As president of the University of St Andrews Craft Society, I often used the room for independent events which were open to the public. Especially popular were tote bag decorating (run with Transition St Andrews) and paper lantern decorating. I really enjoyed working within the museum environment and bringing students and the local community together. I really hope that this strong link between the museum and the student body will be maintained and strengthened in the future.