On a Voyage of Discovery...

on Tuesday, 06 October 2015. Posted in Schools

Diaries and sketches and maps from the trenches; Tudor plots, pardons and royal machinations; Civil war sieges at old Wardour Castle – these are a few of my favourite things...

At least, these are just a few of the archives I have delved into since joining the History Centre team in May.

It is not merely self-indulgence that finds me exploring the strong rooms and miles of shelving housing historic documents – it is work. Really, it is. I am actually researching and preparing sessions for schools.

I am privileged to be the centre’s new Heritage Education Officer – taking over from Laurel Miller – which gives me access to all areas and the opportunity to work with the incredible team of archivists, local studies staff, archaeologists and conservators who occupy this building. (The collective knowledge of this team is phenomenal – and it’s all here on your doorstep, ready to be used.)

Working with primary sources and discovering the stories of people involved in our county’s history is exciting and my pleasant task is to share that excitement and enthusiasm with young people who visit the centre as part of a school group or community project. I also work with other heritage and arts educators around Wiltshire, promoting learning outside the classroom

Our education programme caters to all ages and as well as workshops held at the History Centre I also travel to schools and community groups to deliver outreach sessions.

The First World War Centenary is an area of particular personal interest and expertise, and I am delighted to be working with the county’s Wiltshire at War project which has launched two travelling exhibitions, with another three planned.

The project has also created an exhibition specifically aimed at schools alongside online learning resources which can be found at http://www.wiltshireatwar.org.uk/ The schools’ exhibition and resources are free to use. So please do visit the website or get in touch with the History Centre if you would like the exhibition to come to your school.

We can also deliver workshops based on students researching First World War soldiers and the experiences of your school or community during the war years. The resources and archives are accessible to both primary and secondary school students.

But it is not all First World War. Since starting at the History Centre I have worked on topics from Tudor politics to siege warfare during the English Civil War, and from the coming of the canals and railways to the county’s civil protection preparations against the threat of nuclear war.

Our earliest archives are 12th Century but the education service can support the teaching of earlier historic periods, including pre-history (Stone Age, Bronze Age, Stonehenge, etc), thanks to the presence of the county archaeology team and its resources, including the online Historic Environment Record.

I look forward to working with schools, community groups and other organisations from across Wiltshire and discovering more gems from the archives.

If you would like your school to visit the History Centre or for the education service to support the learning and teaching in your school please contact Heritage Education Officer Ruth Butler on 01249 705529 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Accredited Archive Service