A Day in the Life – Working at the Museum

Article from Winter edition of Your Reading residents’ newsletter

Richard Ousley, Operations Assistant at Reading Museum, chatted to us about Victorian schools and Christmas wishes.

I work in Operations at the Museum and Town Hall and I have been linked with the Museum service for many years in various roles.

It’s not just galleries and exhibits. I help with the day-to-day operations of the building, and am always on hand to give people insight into the collections. I have lived in Reading all my life and visitors today ask me about things I remember being in the museum when I visited as a child.

We run education sessions for school children and I love working in the Victorian Schoolroom which is based in the Abbey Gateway. I get to play a schoolteacher and bring to life Victorian school days for the children. Children get to write using slates in the authentic classroom, and depending on the age of the children you can be quite strict.

I love Christmas in the museum. The whole building is beautifully set up with trees and decorations, and looks magical. We’ve had Father Christmas here in his Victorian Winter Grotto for a few years now,which has a really historical feel to it. Children make a traditional Victorian decoration, meet Father Christmas,
and write a Christmas wish for Father Christmas himself. It is
amazing working at the Grotto and seeing families with children of all ages come to visit Father Christmas year after year.

I have heard Father Christmas gets a very long list of Christmas wishes – from certain toys, to hopes for a particular family member visiting, and wishes for a particular football team to win the league that season. One family supported three different football teams and each family member wanted their team to win!

This year’s Father Christmas’ Victorian Winter Grotto will be at the Museum on 14th December from 10am-2.30pm, £5 per person, booking is essential. Visit www.readingmuseum.org.uk or call (0118) 937 3400.

David Millward

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