Students help history to come alive

Date 4.04.2019

History students from the University of Northampton have been working with local and national heritage organisations to help history come alive as part of their degree.

Our history is inescapable; it defines the world around us today; but do we always think about that?   At the University of Northampton, history students in their second year spend time working with heritage organisations to use their knowledge to help make this link from past to present even stronger.

As part of their studies, students immerse themselves in local and national heritage organisations, discovering the challenges of getting the public to be more engaged in the organisations work. The students then present their ideas to help history come alive in the annual history showcase, which took place on campus this week.

Dr Drew Gray, Subject Leader for History at the University of Northampton said: “This year our History students were sent out to a variety of work based learning placements including with our regular partners The Foreign and Commonwealth Wealth Office archives and the Northamptonshire Record Office, but also with new ones such as Kelmarsh Hall and the National Leather Collection.

“They produced some excellent work and all gained considerable workplace experience and developed their history skills working alongside archivists, educators and volunteers. History is proud of the work our students do and very grateful to all those organisations that allow students to learn from throughout the Spring term.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, whose remit is to protect and promote British interests worldwide, welcomed student, Kay Symons, she said: “Working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was extremely interesting; the Office have such a wealth of historical documents. It has been fascinating to work with the staff at the Office, to explore how they review and then release important, and often sensitive, pieces of history.

“I feel it’s important to find a way to make these historical artefacts available, to make them more transparent and accessible to the public, but it is tricky to balance security and data protection implications too.”

Students, Emma, Joel and Amy worked with local historical hotspot, Delapre Abbey, and have developed an exhibit for the Abbey, which will be on show shortly. Student Amy said: “We have created a small pox exhibit for Delapre. As Delapre welcomes many school groups, we also created a small pox exercise targeted to GCSE students, and a word search for younger children. I’m really excited to see our ideas come to life when the exhibition opens.