Pondering the Past

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Before I began volunteering here at Poole Museum, the history centre was simply the room I walked into and walked back out of again. Now, every Saturday, I come to the museum and the history centre is where I can delve into articles from 100 years ago, or find out about the miraculous story of one single soldier from WW1.

Before I came down to Poole Museum to volunteer, the subject of volunteering somewhere was actually approached quite hastily, after it was made clear to me that I needed to find somewhere to volunteer quickly for my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. However, when my Dad suggested Poole museum, and when I came in initially to enquire about volunteering, it became clear to me very quickly that this was something I would enjoy very much. I am doing History GCSE at school and find it very interesting- so having the chance to every Saturday, come down and find out more about the history of my local area, is something I have come to look forward to.

Reading through files stuffed with newspaper articles from WW1, I’ve discovered so much more about Poole people’s part in the war and events happening from 1913 onwards. Whether it’s marriages, deaths, stories of heroic acts or gatherings in the local parish church, it’s always fascinating finding out these events- especially when I can recognise some of the street names and areas the articles are referring to.

I have found that reading these articles has also given me more of an idea of the sheer scale of deaths that occurred during the war. When I’ve heard the statistics before of the estimated number of deaths during these wars, it’s been hard to comprehend, therefore the 700,000 soldiers that died during WW1, stay as just a statistic. By being able to see that 70% of the news reported in the papers was deaths, it has made these statistics much more real.

Through volunteering here I have also found out how many different ways there are to extend out to the public the facts and stories found here at the museum. Twitter, blogs and more are used in order to raise awareness of the findings here. I confess, I’d barely used Twitter before volunteering here, but now I can use Twitter in order to update people on events or stories from 100 years ago. I can honestly say that there isn’t anything about my time at the museum that I find particularly negative, I thoroughly enjoy the time I spend at the Museum every week.

Annabel Iyengar