My love of the past was born from visits to museums and heritage sites. As a result I have always been drawn to material culture; I love looking at the tangible pieces of the past people leave behind from manuscripts to monuments. While at University I volunteered and worked in various museums as a well as briefly in University Special Collections where I got my first taste of an archive. Doing this work I discovered I particularly enjoyed public facing roles in which I got to interact with people and share my knowledge and passion. I pursued this further on leaving university by teaching English in Romania then Hong Kong. On my return I sought opportunities that would combine my love of education and heritage. About 8 people sent me the link to apply for the Skills for the Future Traineeships. I felt that Learning and Community Outreach Traineeship at Midlothian Council was the perfect opportunity for me to combine my passions and learn new skills.
In my traineeship I will be designing educational resources based around archive materials. I will also be testing the resources designed by the previous Trainee and collecting teacher feedback. This traineeship gives me a chance to demonstrate that archive materials can be interesting, relevant and educational. I hope my work will open up Midlothian council archives and help it become a real asset to the local community.
I will also gain valuable practical experience in archives and records management. I will be observing and contributing to the daily work of a local authority archive. I am keen to learn more about this fascinating sector of heritage which is so often hidden behind closed doors. I am delighted to have the opportunity to develop transferable skills and gain valuable practical experience.
About Midlothian Archives
Midlothian Council Archives manages and provides access to the corporate archives of Midlothian Council and its predecessor authorities, including four burgh councils of Midlothian (Bonnyrigg and Lasswade, Dalkeith, Loanhead and Penicuik). The collection also includes a wide range of material from local businesses, schools, churches, clubs and societies, and private individuals. The collection is an invaluable resource for local and family history. It spans from the seventeenth century to the present and covers all aspects of the history and culture of Midlothian.
Midlothian Archives consists of a small but busy team. Their principal aim is to encourage greater use and awareness of the collection and to make it accessible to users of different abilities, including academics, schoolchildren and retired people.
Recent projects have included an online Roll of Honour of Midlothian casualties of the First World War and an activity pack for primary schools using census data to reconstruct a local high street. Staff are also creating online catalogues and finding aids as well as supporting the activities of local history societies.