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My Time as a Digital Marketing Modern Apprentice at The Devil's Porridge Museum

Introduction to the Devil's Porridge Museum

The Devil’s Porridge Museum commemorates H.M. Factory Gretna, the largest munitions factory in the world during the First World War. It explores the stories of the Solway Military Coast during the Second World War and beyond.

My Experience

I started volunteering at The Devil’s Porridge Museum in 2019 as one of the digitisation volunteers. This involved helping to create digital records for the objects in The Devil’s Porridge Museum’s collection.

It was always fascinating to see some of the items which were in the museum’s object store.  I found something intriguing nearly every time I came (except when I got stuck digitalising what felt like 10 billion newspapers – it wasn’t quite that many, but it got a dash repetitive).

I was working with the Museum Manager at the time, Judith, who showed me how to write a blog about some interesting medals that I was digitalising (perhaps she felt sorry for me after having to help digitalise so many newspapers!).  I enjoyed doing something different and being able to share some of the items in the museum’s object store with a wider audience. My first blog post was about ‘Medals in the Museum’.

When The Devil’s Porridge Museum was safely able to be open during 2020, I started working on front of house. It was a somewhat strange time with all the extra Covid safety measures in place to keep everyone safe, but it was a quiet time to learn and build my confidence. It was great to have the support of the museum’s staff and volunteers to help me get used to this!

It surprised me to discover how quickly I got used to working on front of house, which previously I’d never imagined doing. I have been working on front of house throughout my apprenticeship and I am still doing so now. It was at this time that I also started an SVQ in Museum and Galleries Practices, which I am continuing to work towards.

I heard about the Digital Marketing Modern Apprenticeship when Judith emailed me about it. It was exciting, as it would give me the opportunity to share some of the items in The Devil’s Porridge Museum’s object store with a wider audience. I’d enjoyed helping to create the blog post previously too. It also gave me the chance to take more photos and learn more (or at the very least refresh the existing knowledge I had about editing them) and gain more experience in a museum environment which I was interested in.

During my time working on the apprenticeship I got the opportunity to share my ideas and get involved in other things, such as a creative writing workshop inspired by a family photo album in The Devil’s Porridge Museum’s object store. It was very interesting to hear the stories that the young people came up with and I wrote a blog post about the creative writing workshop. The story was also in the local newspaper and was picked up on the Daily Record’s website!

Additionally, the apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to learn new things. I particularly liked learning about Search Engine Optimisation for one of my units; it gave me an interesting insight into something I had never really thought about much before.

It’s also been great to have the support of the museum’s Research Officer, Laura and help to share some of the stories uncovered by the Miracle Worker’s Research project. This project aims to centralise and uncover the story of all the people who worked at H.M. Factory Gretna during World War One. The stories that the research volunteers and Laura uncovered are fascinating and I’m glad I could help in sharing them with a wider audience.

My favourite campaign that I was involved in was a Christmas Countdown, which ran in December 2021 on the museum’s Facebook and Twitter. Each day I shared something festive from The Devil’s Porridge Museum’s object store. It was also interesting to see which posts from this campaign were most popular on Facebook and Twitter, which were often the ones I least expected.

This postcard proved to be rather popular during The Christmas Countdown campaign. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do something similar this year (improved with what I’ve learnt from my last attempt)!

A white historical fabric and embroidered postcard, depicting embroidered pink flowers and green foliage. Embroidered text reads "Merry Christmas".

The campaign I think that The Devil’s Porridge Museum’s volunteers are most likely to remember is my emoji quizzes.

A screengrab of a twitter tweet by The Devils Porridge Museum of an emoji quiz relating to the museum and it's history.

I’m proud to have completed the Digital Marketing Modern Apprenticeship at The Devil’s Porridge Museum and would like to thank everyone who’s helped me with this, even if I haven’t had chance to name them all here. At the end of my apprenticeship, I was offered a job at the museum, so I’m excited for what I will be doing next!