This October I was one of the lucky volunteers who helped out with the National Museum of Scotland’s half-term family activities. Over the course of a week we helped over 2,000 visitors to create a dazzling dinosaur diorama (my own effort, complete with wholly inaccurate modelling clay undersea monsters, is now proudly displayed on my mantelpiece), scary sabre tooth tiger masks and fantastically mucky fossils, made from dental paste and sand.
I thoroughly enjoyed the week, not just because I got a chance to indulge my very undernourished creative side, but because the staff at the Museum and the visitors proved to be utterly lovely. The team at the museum were helpful, cheerful and welcoming, and as one parent said to me: “It’s lovely to see so many children enjoying themselves and behaving well all together!” Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, from the young boy who insisted on making various sizes of ‘Brownosaurus’ for his diorama, to the very young cousins who took turns scaring each other in their masks, to the enthusiastic fossil hunters brushing the sand from their fossils straight into mum’s bag.
The children loved the activities, and that made it a joy to be there helping them. Having just moved to Edinburgh it was great to meet so many history enthusiasts of all ages, and to feel like I had become a part of the Museum. Although it was at times exhausting, it was worth it, and I wore my bright purple t-shirt with pride. I can’t wait to find out what I’ll be doing next time!