Archive for February, 2012

A week in the life of our Learning Officer

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Hi my name is Eleanor Payne and my job as Learning Officer at Hertford Museum is to work with school and family groups (amongst many others!) to encourage them to engage in the museum in a meaningful way. This week has been a really mixed bag (like most weeks!). Here is a flavour of what I have been up to…

On Monday I attended a seminar on the changes facing schools over the next few years; whether or not to become academies and how the ever-changing requirements by the government affect them on a daily, termly and annual basis. It was a really interesting morning organised by SHARE (Support, Help and Advice from Renaissance East) in Luton for museum educators. It is really important to me to keep up to date with the current agendas schools are facing to ensure we can respond to their changing circumstances and needs appropriately. That afternoon it was back to the ranch for a team chat about our forthcoming exhibitions programme with the curatorial team; I was really keen to give an input from a family audience perspective, the next focus being our souvenirs exhibition and to make it as interactive as possible!

On Tuesday I ran our monthly Toddler session ‘Toddler Tuesday’ with Dawn, one of our fabulous volunteers. The theme was Leaping Frogs and all the children were able to make a frog on a lily pad to take home, as well as enjoy stories and play with our traditional wooden toys.

Wednesday saw a visit from Middleton School in Ware, who brought their Year 2 class to try on lots of different old fashioned costumes. Lots of fun was had with boaters, tops hats, mob caps and aprons! Many schools visit us at the museum, booking a session like this and sometimes I go and deliver an outreach session in school; it all depends on what the school requires (take a look at our schools pages for further information on the sessions we currently offer).

I then had a great meeting at the Town Council, finalising our plans for the Teddy bear’s picnic that is happening at Hertford Castle on Sunday 17th June. Later that afternoon Sara Taylor (our curator) and I met with a lady from Selections Adult Learning partnership on how we can develop future partnership working both at the adult learning centre based at Sele School and at the museum.

St Dominic’s Catholic School from Harpenden visited us on Thursday to explore Tilly’s Toy Box. Their Years 1 class is currently learning about old toys so the hand-on approach to learning, where they can play with and explore old and old fashioned toys worked excellently. We have received some funding from SHARE to improve the way we engage with families at the museum, so Sara and I had a meeting in the afternoon to discuss future plans for interactives in the galleries and Saturday stay and play sessions at the museum…watch this space for further details later in the Spring!

Friday was a beautiful sunny day, which was fortunate because Sarah Keeling (our Assistant Curator), some volunteers and I took to the streets to finalise the entrants for the town trail we are organising in conjunction with the RNLI over Easter. We are asking local shops to create a small display in their window on the theme of a town that has an RNLI lifeboat station; we will then be writing trails that will encourage our visitors to take a stroll round the shops. All shops are generously donating to be involved and we will be selling the trails at the museum. All proceed with be split between the two charities.

Phew! Well there you have it, a week in the life of me!

Colin Harris

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

As many of you will have heard already Colin Harris passed away at the weekend. Colin was a dedicated Trustee of the museum for many years and he only stepped down as Chairman last year.

He was a friend and support to all who knew him and we at the museum will miss him.

His funeral will be held at the Hertford Baptist Church on Monday 5th March at 2pm with a reception afterwards at Hertford Castle.

A week of enquiries at Hertford Museum

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I hope everyone’s enjoying Half Term. We’ve been very busy at the museum with our Roman Invasion!

But it isn’t just holiday activities that are keeping us busy, every week we receive questions, bookings, donations and all kinds of research enquiries so we thought this week we’d let you know some of our day-to-day enquiries!

This is just a selection of what’s been going on behind the scenes over the last week.

  • We ‘ve had lots of calls asking for details of our Roman activities and 85 children took part on our first day! There are lots of fantastic masks, drawings and mosaics being created.

  • A school have contacted our Learning Officer, Eleanor, about borrowing one of our Loans Boxes. These are full of objects that children can handle as well as helpful pictures and information for teachers to use.
  • A visitor was particularly interested in the Hertingfordbury Cowper School log books on display in our Hertingfordbury and the Greens exhibition and wants to come in and look through them to try and find some members of his family who lived in the village in the 1800s.
  • We’ve taken in a loan of paintings by Lionel Horsnell, a local artist, that we’re going to have on display in May.
  • Hudsons Dentists have been talking to us about some objects they’ve donated over the years that they may be borrowing back for an anniversary exhibition (the dentist’s chair in our main gallery came from them!)
  • Our volunteers are all learning how to use our new MODEs database and we’ve had a new volunteers start as well (unfortunately she’s the last person we’ll be able to take on for a while!)
  • We’ve been finalising details for our Museums at Night event this year, it’s going to be on the 19th of May and we’ll give you more details nearer the time!

  • We’ve had several enquiries about booking our Andrews Room from different groups.
  • Planning for the Hertford Carnival is starting- we’ll be open on the day and you might see the museum involved in other ways too!
  • CP Timber have kindly donated a laptop to us that they no longer need.
  • Our latest acquisition is a One Man Band! Tony Crowley was a local celebrity who performed on several TV shows (including Opportunity Knocks and Rainbow) and who held the world record for the longest continuous session of One Man Band-ing. He died last year and his family have kindly donated his instruments and several pictures to the museum.

It’s certainly been a busy time for our new curator, Sara Taylor, to start but we’re very glad she’s here!

A snowy February and Half Term fun

Friday, February 10th, 2012

We hope you’re all enjoying the snow we’ve had this week and it hasn’t caused too many problems. The museum garden looks beautiful with its white covering (though we’re glad to be inside in the warm!)

Join in with the Roman invasion at Hertford Museum and Courtyard Arts this half term!

Next week, on Tuesday 14th, Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th February, drop-in to Hertford Museum between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm to make a Roman theatre mask, handle real and replica Roman artefacts and draw some REAL Roman objects.

You can then use your drawings of museum objects as inspiration for a community mosaic activity at Courtyard Arts on the Thursday; please call Courtyard Arts Centre on 01992 509596 to book your place.

Hertford Museum & RNLI Town Trail

Friday, February 3rd, 2012


This Easter we are teaming up with the RNLI to create our town trail- following on from the successes of our Scarecrow and Doctor Who trails.

The trail has an RNLI theme and any money raised will be split between the RNLI and the museum.

RNLI Lifeboat stations in the UK

Shops are being asked to put up a small display based on one of the towns attached to a lifeboat station and then we will be creating two trails, one for adults and one for children, which will take you round all of the window displays and ask some questions!

Today some (very well wrapped up!) museum staff and RNLI volunteers delivered letters to many town centre businesses and we’ve already had 7 towns snapped up so if you own a town centre shop or business and want to get involved then call us ASAP!

We’ll let you know more about the trails (and some exciting prizes) as well as our other Easter Holiday activities nearer the time!