Delightful discoveries


A group of volunteers have broken the ‘look but don’t touch’ rule at a North East museum.

Eleven employees from Northumbrian Water, volunteering under the company’s Just an hour scheme, were among the first people in ten years to touch dresses from the 1950s and 1960s, that have been in storage at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The water workers spent the day sorting, photographing and categorising more than 150 objects from the past that will be boxed by theme and loaned to schools in the region, under Tyne & Wear Museums’ ‘Boxes of Delight’ programme.

‘Boxes of Delight’ is available to all schools at Boxes are available for pupils aged three to sixteen and can be used across the National Curriculum. They include First and Second World War relics, clothing from 1900 to 1980, and replica artefacts from Ancient Egypt.

Objects were recorded by Claire Burn from Prudhoe, Maureen Campbell from Chester-le-Street, Gary Cassells from Cramlington, Lorraine Coulson from Low Fell, Gateshead, Laurie Hamilton from Chester-le-Street, Rebecca Hildon from Durham, Zach Leggett from Guidepost, Morpeth, Pam Lovell from Hamsterley, County Durham, Kyle Norris from Blyth, Rachel Reed from Springwell Village and Dzintars Veselis from Sunderland.

Eli Davison, development officer for Tyne & Wear Museums, said: “We are extremely grateful to Northumbrian Water for their support. The costumes in particular would normally have taken the learning team several weeks to categorise.

“Now that the artefacts have been sorted and photographed, they can be integrated into our ‘Boxes of Delight’. These objects are a stimulating resource, encouraging students of all ages and abilities to use their senses and develop problem-solving skills.

“The images will also be displayed for the first time on the Schools Online website, which has more than 32,000 hits per month.”

Rebecca Hildon, who works in litigation at Northumbrian Water’s head office at Pity Me, Durham, said: “It felt really satisfying to help the museum as the ‘Boxes of Delight’ are such a valuable resource for schools in the area.”

Claire Burn, who works for the water sampling team based at Horsley, Tyne & Wear, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it has inspired me to seek out further volunteering opportunities that may be available in museums in the local area through Just an hour.”

Northumbrian Water’s ‘Just an hour’ scheme gives employees the opportunity to spend at least 15 hours of paid work time a year improving local communities in the company’s supply area - from Berwick to North Yorkshire and across to the Pennines.

Since the ‘Just an hour’ scheme was launched in 2002, Northumbrian Water employees have spent more than 20,000 hours working on local community projects and improving the environment.

For more information contact Leanne Clough on 0191 301 6733.

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