P3 pupils and manticores: Work experience at National Museum of Scotland

The prospect of seeing what goes on behind the scenes of National Museums Scotland was exciting, and I wasn’t disappointed. After learning to navigate my way through the warren that is the museum, and taking a good look at the exhibits, I found solace in the act of painting paper with tea and coffee to make it look ancient for a map-making workshop to be held in the museum.

My first day was mainly meeting people. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming. I had a meeting with Hugh, the Head of Digital Media, who gave me a talk on what the department does.  He even asked me what National Museums Scotland could do to attract more people in my age group.

We also went to the National Gallery to see an exhibition on prisoners’ art; I found that very illuminating.

Tuesday was quite a busy day, as was Wednesday, when I helped Fiona from the Learning and Programmes department with workshops for primary kids. There were around thirty primary 3s, bright little bundles of completely unsuppressable energy I tell you…

School pupils at the National Museum of Scotland
School pupils at the National Museum of Scotland.

That day I was also given an animal census in order to choose some animals for a trail round the museum.

On Thursday afternoon I visited the Collection Centre in Granton. It was amazing, there were huge machines bolted to floors, the insects were myriad and there were vertebrae bigger than my head! The thing I remember most about that visit was the very strange looking manticore (it was a manticore wasn’t it?) skull, the beast must have been HUGE!

Conservation staff working at the National Museums Collection Centre
Conservation staff working at the National Museums Collection Centre.

Friday, alas, the end of my work experience. And what an experience.  There was, of course, no better way to end the week than by compiling results from the evaluation sheets given to pupils and teachers after workshops. That day I learned a harsh lesson that not all work is fun…  But in the end I got a really nice card out of it and an amusing mug, so it’s not all bad!

Thanks guys !

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