Our Heritage Project Volunteers have been chosen as regional winners of this year’s Volunteers for Museum Learning, Marsh Trust Awards.
These volunteers worked on an ACE funded project during 2017 to develop and deliver an intergenerational project, working alongside the local Vietnamese community to collect oral histories and personal recollections of ‘Making Home.’ They collaborated with the Collections and Learning team and community partners. They researched the collections, developed interview questions and themes, facilitated creative workshops, scheduled and conducted oral history interviews and collaborated on the interpretation of collected content in our public exhibition called ‘home thoughts’.
Throughout training and project planning, the volunteers brought new perspectives to the museum’s way of working. They used their own networks and experiences to broaden the scope of the original focus on London, and invited international participants of Vietnamese heritage to take part. The result was interviews which captured a wider range of migration stories and traditions of making home.
The volunteers challenged how we collect oral histories. During the project they discussed the many obstacles facing this type of project. The group suggested an alternative could be to collect vox pop questions alongside longer interviews. This led to the creation of a postcard featuring three key questions on the theme which could be translated and taken to workshops with the community. Participants could fill in the postcard individually or be invited to record their answers. This made the project more accessible for people. The postcards were an immediate success and led to the collection of stories from of a broader range of respondents, and an increased number of participants willing to take part in a longer oral history interview. The postcard format has now been adopted by other parts of our community programme as a way of continuing to collect personal recollections on the theme of Making Home.
Their enthusiasm and openness to engaging with people has created strong relationships with our local Vietnamese community and what they collected has enriched the museum’s collection allowing visitors to explore a broader range of peoples experiences of home.
The ceremony was held on Monday 24th of September at The British Museum and we are happy to post some pictures from the event.