The Royal Engineers Museum is Kent’s largest military museum. It holds its own Designated Collection of historical and international importance. The numerous galleries tell the story of Britain’s military engineers from the Roman period to the modern Corps of Royal Engineers.
For a number of years, the Royal Engineers Museum have sponsored the EP Scheme providing work experience and shadowing placements, in addition to an exclusive behind the scenes tour of their archive and collections.
The behind-the-scenes tour always goes down well, and this year was no different! The students got hands-on experience with items currently not being exhibited, and received an expert commentary from Danielle Sellers, Collections Manager. Notably, students gained the chance to visit the armoury, and examine items such as Zulu shields, ceremonial attire belonging to General Charles Gordon and first edition novels by Charles Dickens.
Feedback was unanimously positive, with students commenting:
‘The behind-the-scenes tour was a very insightful experience into collections management. It was great to be able to see how objects and archival collections are stored and catalogued.’ Adil Rana Chhina (Postgraduate, School of History).
‘It was great to get an insight into the behind-the-scenes of a museum and see hands-on how the archive operates.’ Thomas Barry (Stage 3, School of History).
‘It was really interesting to see how all aspects of history are incorporated within the Royal Engineers Museum: social, cultural and anthropological – there is something for everyone in terms of appeal and sentimentality.’ Amelia Kinsey (Stage 2, School of History).
The EP team have caught-up with a number of students during previous years to hear their thoughts about their rewards with the museum.
George Knight (School of History) undertook two weeks work experience at the museum, focusing on cataloging items belong to Edward James Abbott, who served as a Royal Engineer during the 1960s. George commented on this project:
‘It’s very interesting archiving these tiny pieces of history. It’s nice to be given this responsibility, I have been working quite independently but can ask for help if I need it. I feel like I’m really getting ahead of the game by having the opportunity to volunteer here. I would definitely recommend this reward to others!’
Alexandra Bailey (School of History) spent her placement predominantly cataloging a variety of photos. She said:
‘I really enjoyed having joint tasks, while also having my own work to get on with. It has also been really valuable to hear where the staff began and how they got where they are today.’
Mary Skingley (School of History) also appreciated the career advice offered by staff at the museum:
‘I have loved learning about the different roles and the structure of the museum. The diversity of the opportunities I have gained through EP are great.’
Molly Brett (School of History) gained the opportunity to spend 2-days in the museum, which allowed to her to undertake work in the Archives and Library, Collections, Outreach and Exhibitions.
‘This experience has benefited my career plans by offering me an exclusive opportunity to go behind the scenes working in a museum, as well as allowing me to network with professionals in the heritage sector.’
For more information on the Royal Engineers Museum, please see here.