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Reflections on a Busy Start

Reflections from Archie, Museum Engagement Officer

Our first visitors to the new museum – Year 4, Florendine Primary School.

Reflections on a busy start.

Birmingham Home Schooling Group examine fingerprint evidence.

I am writing this on my 294th day in post as West Midlands Police Museum Engagement Officer and I feel like I’m just reaching a point where I can take a breath. Prior to the opening of the museum, I was flat out planning, visiting, organising and networking, so that my little area of the museum would be a success. Since then, I’m really proud to say, I have been equally busy hosting schools and educational groups.

In March, we hosted our first of what I plan to become twice annual free open events for educators. On that day we met 50 teachers from across the West Midlands and successfully converted most of these into school bookings. Since then, we have played host to more than 850 learners at the Lock-Up and I have given talks to 16 classes, during outreach sessions in their school.

What’s next?

Ben’s prize-winning cat illustrations.

I can’t stop and breathe for too long though, because I already have plans afoot for the next stages of development for the educational provision. Yesterday, I met Ben Thompson for the first time. Ben was the winner of a competition held by Birmingham City University Graduate+ and is going to be the illustrator of the first a what we hope to be a series of picture books featuring our very own Lock-Up Mouse and Cookie the Cat. In addition to writing that, I have created a mystery for visitors to the museum to solve during the summer holidays that I’m super excited about. Look out for the Operation Mousetrap envelopes, coming to the Lock-Up soon and thanks to the force graphic designer, Nigel for turning my idea and primary school level prototype into a working document that we can all be proud of.

Eden Boys’ School visited as part of the Prince’s Trust Mosaic Mentors scheme.

I am writing this sitting in my second home – the education space – and surrounded by half-finished craft projects, pens, paper, paints and glue, as I prepare for the museum’s first ever holiday club. Helen, the Museum Manager and I named it ‘Pint-Sized Police’ and I have planned a sleepover, a visit from an explosives search dog and lots of fun crafts and activities for each of the two weeks that it will run, at the end of August. I’m so excited!

Looking to the Future.

As soon as the holiday club weeks are over, I will be preparing for the next teachers’ open event, on 19th September and hosting the school groups who have already started to book for next academic year. I will also be working with Helen and a local primary school on an exciting project for Kids in Museums Takeover day in November. Life is non-stop, but I love it and can safely say that this is the best job I have ever had. I get to work in an incredible place with fantastic group of colleagues. I wouldn’t swap it for anything (as long as there is always plenty of coffee about to keep me going!) and hopefully, by Christmas, I’ll have the time to add another update to the story of the educational provision.

Until then, back to work.

Maybe after a short coffee break…