Work experience at Denbighshire Archives

Here at the archives, we are always happy to host work experience students when we can. Whether you are at school or college, thinking about a career in the archives or heritage sector or looking for something to do in your retirement, we have a number of projects which contribute to improving our service.

Here is a report from one of our work experience students who came to volunteer in Oct 2013-

“I’ve always had a keen interest in history at school and outside of it and I knew I needed to get a work experience placement somewhere history-related because I was about to apply to study history at university. I chose Denbighshire Archives in Ruthin which is based inside the intriguing Ruthin Gaol, in the picturesque town of Ruthin. It seemed a perfect place to spend a week developing my knowledge of what it is like to be in a working environment and also developing my knowledge as an historian.

During the week, I was involved in many tasks and activities. I shadowed members of staff in the public search room, helping members of the public to view collections. I researched and answered enquiries from members of the public via email and telephone, often regarding tracing their family members; with some enquiries coming from as far away as Australia! After responding to a lady in Australia, wishing to find out more information about her father who died when she was just 2, I was able to conduct research on her behalf and find out information for her about her father and her grandparents. Knowing that my research was benefitting her so much was hugely rewarding and interesting. I also helped put together ‘storyboxes’ as part of a national campaign called ‘Explore Your Archive’. As well as this, I retrospectively converted a hardcopy catalogue of the records of S.P.Bevon (a Wrexham solicitor) into digital format. This is to enable Denbighshire Archive staff to digitise the catalogue and enable the public to view the full catalogue online in the future. Whilst there were some unavoidable ‘admin’ tasks like laminating and photocopying to do, they all added to the experience of the working lifestyle.

It wasn’t just work being done however; I also had the chance to go on a tour of the Ruthin Gaol Museum, a wonderfully interesting building, full of fascinating stories. I was also able to request some archives for my personal interest, like leaflets published during World War 2 by the government regarding how to deal with fire bombs, how to put on a gas mask and simple first aid instructions; all of which being hugely interesting.

As you can tell, my experience at Denbighshire Archives has been very beneficial in not only giving me a great addition to my personal statement for University, but has provided me with knowledge of the history the building itself. I would definitely recommend Denbighshire Archives to anyone thinking of doing work experience or simply just volunteering to help out, all the staff are very friendly and welcoming and at the end of the week (or 2 weeks) you’ll definitely be glad you did it”.

Harry, student at Alun School, Mold.

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