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Behind the scenes at John Bunyan Museum with Jemma and Lizzie.

Last month, John Bunyan Museum opened its doors to two work experience placements: Jemma and Lizzie. Over the week, they completed many different tasks and activities to help all over the museum and got very attached to our own Mini Mr Bunyan. This is their account of the week they had here:

Hello, our names are Lizzie and Jemma we spent this week working at the John Bunyan Museum. When we started we were quite shy but we grew much more confident and comfortable with each other over the week. Throughout the week we were introduced to many of the systems used in the museum and how much a museum is run during closure. We would like to massively thank Nicola and the rest of the John Bunyan team for being so welcoming and teaching us about what its like to work here.

At the start of our week, we cleaned and dusted the museum displays and made sure that all the Bunyan statues jackets were dust free and their hair was not shedding, during this we were able to see how much dedication is put into cleaning and creating the warm and calming environment a museum always has. We then next went through the website and noted down any improvements that could be made or any recurring issues that could be fixed, this was in preparation for a meeting that we were to join the next day. This taught us about how difficult it can be to create an accurate web page that not only runs smoothly but also is easy to navigate.

On Tuesday, we helped out with a school visit. We split into groups and went around the museum and church learning along with the students about John Bunyan’s life, The Pilgrim’s Progress, and life in the 17th century. When the school had left, we helped make a trail based around The Pilgrim’s Progress. We got very familiar with the guillotine and laminator as we ran up and down the stairs to cut and laminate tiny bits of paper. Finally, we joined a meeting about the combined website and what needed to be done to it. It was a fascinating insight into how different parts of a company has to be managed and how challenging the online aspects can be.

On the Wednesday, we were able to help unload and unpack the exhibition being held at the Panacea society during the time the John Bunyan Museum has been closed, we also attended and took photos for a Wednesday workshop, creating a Easter wreath and making Mini Mr Bunyan appear as though he was making the wreath himself. It was lovely to be able to talk to the numerous people who attend the Wednesday workshops frequently as well as being able to take photos that were going to be used and uploaded onto social media, we then later went back into the museum and took photos that were to be used on the children’s trail, as well as drafting and uploading one of the tweets we had prepared.

On Thursday, we prepared our own trail: first by resizing and printing all the pictures, then by cutting and laminating the questions and photos. We also moved much of the stock in order to arrange it the following day for the reopening. Then we decorated Easter eggs for next week’s Crafty Thursday in order to take pictures and create examples. They ended up looking a bit messy, but it was fun and to help the children. Lastly we set up the first draft of this blog post.

Finally on Friday, we helped set up the shop, we moved and restacked all the shelves and made it ready for the reopening, Mini Mr Bunyan helped too of course. We spent a lot of time organising and reorganising the shelves into what looked the best. The rest of the day was spent finishing this post.

Work experience has been an invigorating look into the working and running of a museum, we feel as though we have learnt the ins and outs of how different the work at a museum when its closed can be, from cleaning, to seeing volunteers guide people around the museum, as well as helping manage social media, it could be seen as quite stressful however the wonderful people who volunteer and work at the John Bunyan Museum make it seem effortless. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and would recommend it as a place to volunteer or do work experience as it helps to teach valuable skills as well as the bonus of a welcoming community.

Lizzie & Jemma


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