Community & Learning Intern Blog – Ella’s last week!

17 August 2015


As this will be Ella’s last week, this week’s entry has been written from her perspective!

The speed at which time has flown by feels completely mad! I couldn’t believe it was my last week. Meghan and I mostly spent the Monday going through project work. My project has now been broken down into three parts: a draft of an online tour script, complete with panoramic photographs of the State Rooms as a starting point for an eventual virtual tour of the House; learning session examples to go alongside an image gallery; the image gallery itself and factsheets of the State Rooms. These will all be available online as accessible teacher resources. However, the factsheets will act as a more general guide to the House, for schools which may not have the time to see inside the building before they visit. 

Like the week before, we helped out at the National Trust’s family event, and this week it was called ‘Tree-mendous Trees!’. This involved a short nature walk around the Lake Pavilions. Kids were challenged to find species of tree, hunt for minibeasts (rest assured that the Landscape Gardens have plenty of woodlice) and guess how old the trees around them were. Afterwards they got creative and decorated leaf crowns and insect masks. By this point I had become so used to participating in family events, it seemed strange that this would be my last one with the National Trust! In the afternoon we prepared the materials for our House family event, ‘Make a Noise!’ This involved teaching ourselves how to make a lollipop-stick kazoo (it is a lot harder than you think) and experimenting with elastic-band shoebox guitars. I had a lot of fun pretending I was a real guitarist while Meghan diligently packed the boxes, ready to be glittered and decorated by our families the next day!

The event itself was lots of fun. The first half of the session involved dancing to 18th-century music in the Music Room, and recording some ‘soundscaping’ using percussion instruments. The second half was all about creating and decorating the instruments lovingly prepared by yours truly! The children certainly knew how to make a noise – a few were a little shy, but by the end of the session they were comfortable enough to join in and get creative with sound. Because this event was our last family event as one team, and it was the last day the team were all together, after we tidied up we were treated to lunch at Boycott Farm. It was a really touching day spent together, as we talked about how after a few weeks we had really felt like part of the Stowe House community. 

The second half of the week focused on completing our project drafts. Thursday was Natalie’s last day before she took annual leave, so that afternoon Natalie, Meghan and I took a trip to the Temple of Ancient Virtue to have our last supervisor meetings. We individually discussed with her how we had felt the internship had gone, and what we gained from the experience. I am entering my final year of university in October 2015, so I have a little more time before I make any certain choices about careers. However, I feel that summer at Stowe House has been so enlightening and rewarding, and it has made me more convinced that I would enjoy a career in the cultural sector.

I’d very much like to thank Stowe House and all its staff and volunteers for giving me the best possible experience here. I am particularly grateful to: Anna, Ruth, Jenna, Kate, and the Oxford University interns (Jenny, Madeline, Craig). Last but not least, the Community and Learning team: Meghan, Kelly and Natalie – thank you so much for helping me throughout this summer. As a team member I’m incredibly proud of everything we managed to achieve.