Here at Maidstone Museum, we feel it’s important that our visitors have the opportunity to get to know the individual team members, what they do, and what they recommend. This is a great way to provide valuable insight behind the scenes at Maidstone Museum… and also offers a glimpse at some sections of the collection you may otherwise be unaware of.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Roz Meredith and I have been the Learning and Events Officer at Maidstone Museum for three-and-a-half years.
What does your job entail?
I create, deliver, and oversee the Schools Learning Programme, linking the workshops to the National Curriculum, and ensuring fun, informative sessions using artefacts and specimens. I also create and deliver family activities, holiday craft sessions, and the regular story time events for under 5s – basically anything educational, practical, messy and fun! I am also part of the team that delivers Café Culture, our sessions for over 65s as part of our Wellness agenda.
What inspired you to work at Maidstone Museum?
I was a teacher for almost 20 years and decided it was time for a change. Many years ago I had taken my Year 2 class to the Museum of London where we had an interactive presentation from a crazy, flame-inspired taffeta and net-costumed member of the learning team. My class was hooked by the story being told and learned so much. The seed of exciting children to learn more about the past – outside of the formal classroom – was sown. When a casual position here at the museum came up I knew I had to apply and was fortunate to get the post. Then when the Learning Officer post came up, I applied and was again fortunate to get the post. I am thankful to that ‘crazy’ actor for planting that initial idea!
What are your three favourite objects in the collection?
It is difficult to choose just three favourite items, but here goes:
First, Ta-Kush and her coffin. This is one of my favourite items in the museum mainly because of the reaction she receives from the school groups who come and visit. The clear hieroglyphics on the coffin base are still bright and clear, she clearly shows one of the processes of mummification – something I have always found interesting – and she has helped increase my enjoyment of learning about Ancient Egypt.
Second, the Tapa Cloths in the Explorers gallery. These are fascinating to look at and, when I realised they were made from the bark of the mulberry tree, the skill need to create them became more evident. Each is decorated in natural pigment, often in a repeating pattern. Their use as shelter, clothing, ceremonial wear and more shows their versatility.
Finally, the Tudor bone ice skate. This is part of our Education handling collection, but is a fascinating piece. It always evokes discussion, whether with children, teachers, adults or any of the groups we work with, regardless of age. It often take clues to get to the name of the item but does show that rich Tudors had time for recreation and fun, and went ice skating on ponds and rivers.
If you could recommend one thing for a visitor to do at Maidstone Museum, what would it be and why?
As the formal and informal learning opportunities within the museum sit within my remit, I would obviously recommend one of our holiday craft sessions. We try and tie-in our activities to the museum’s collections, local or national events, or even to celebrate key collectors’ birthdays.
I would also recommend the talks the Collections Team give. These provide access to collections that are not always seen in the museum, and the team offer an insight to reasons the collections were formed, how they ended up in Maidstone, and tell the stories behind the objects.
What do you hope to see at Maidstone Museum in the future?
I would like to see continued interaction by visitors within our galleries, and have the opportunity to provide workshops for families, linked to the collections, enabling them to create their own versions of, or be inspired by, the artefacts they see.