Lister Steps Carnegie Community Hub project

Our Lister Steps Hub 2015 post is written by our Heritage Development Officer Kerry Massheder-Rigby.  Kerry joined the Lister Steps team in 2014 when the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) gave us a stage 1 pass and development funding.  Her role is now partially funded by HLF and the Architectural Heritage Fund.

The Lister Steps Hub project aims to regenerate a much loved former Carnegie Library in Liverpool and return it to community use.  The library was closed in 2006 and sadly the building has suffered neglect, theft and vandalism and has deteriorated considerably.  The building is still an absolute beauty despite her mistreatment!  Lister Steps, currently a charity providing childcare and family support, aim to create a community hub at the building—heritage activities, additional childcare services, a cafe, business and enterprise space, outdoor play space and a unique venue for events (such as your wedding!).

The team are currently working hard to raise the required match funding, develop the business plan, activity plan, building designs and conservation management plan.  We are holding community conversations, online surveys and events to engage the local community in the project.  We aim to take part in a review with HLF in October and hope to submit our full application in Spring 2016.

A day in the life of a Heritage Development Officer……….

My role is varied and each day brings a new challenge or experience.  I love working with Lister Steps to help develop the HLF funded heritage project and we have some exciting activities planned for the future (if we secure the funding!).

Today I am working on two tasks; developing a programme of activities for the Lister Steps Summer Playscheme project ‘Tuebrook Heritage Trail’ and gathering ideas of what to do for our next community event.

We have received some funding from Carillion (thank you!) to run a 10 day project to work with 24 Playscheme children to create a heritage trail of Tuebrook, Liverpool.  Although we would like the children to take the lead on the project, design it themselves and work as a team to create a resource that can be shared with community members, some planning is required!  I’ve created an ‘ice breaker’ activity and a sheet to collect their feedback on each activity within the project.  I’ve arranged a trip to start the project off.  We will be taking the Old Dock Tour (run by the Merseyside Maritime Museum) to look at the archaeological remains, learn about the development of the dock and its important role in Liverpool’s history and hopefully get a few tips on how to make a tour (trail) interesting and engaging.  Next we will head to the Museum of Liverpool to take their Liver Bird Trail, have lunch and take part in crafternoon.  The children at Lister Steps LOVE fieldtrips and they’re really excited to take part in an archaeology themed day!  The Playscheme children have been pro active in helping to develop our Activity Plan-we are really excited to be running a mini version of activities we hope to deliver in the near future.

It is brilliant being a Heritage Development Officer within a charity that serves the local community.  The staff and local community are massively supportive of the project and are such fun to work with.  Being based in an existing childcare provider has enabled the heritage themed activities in the Activity Plan to be written to focus on children, young people and their families.

This is such an exciting project to be working on-let’s hope the project receives its HLF funding and can take part in Day of Archaeology 2016!

3D laser scan, 12th May 2015, Dr Oriel Prizeman, Cardiff University

3D laser scan, 12th May 2015, Dr Oriel Prizeman, Cardiff University

Model made by children of Lister Steps

Model made by children of Lister Steps

10.04.15 Member of Falcons designing Sky High ideas box 1

Children and Families Workshops

I’m one of the ever increasing breed of part-time workers and freelancers.  In the past twelve months I have worked for five different organisations including the British Museum, Geffrye Museum, Sir John Soane Museum, National Army Museum and at Hackney Museum for the Building Exploratory.  The most difficult part of my job is remembering where to head to each morning!

For this Day of Archaeology post I’d like to present to you the ‘Create a Canopic Jar’ children’s workshop that I’m running at the Sir John Soane Museum.  Truly a fabulously quirky and endlessly fascinating museum, if you haven’t been I highly recommend it (although be careful of the queues for their candle-lit openings).

The workshop description is thus:

Explore the Ancient Egyptian secrets of mummification and look at the magnificent sarcophogus of Seti I.  Then make your own Canopic Jar fit for a Pharaoh.”

It caters for 10 children who will spend the day with me in the Soane Museum and their education space.  The workshop itself will take place in early August but the preparations began far in advance.  It was over a year ago that I came up with this concept and was booked in to run the workshop.  In the last few months I have been planning the workshop logistics, creating material lists & resource, and, most importantly, doing a test run.  Always important to do a test run!  As well as seeking out potential problems it also helps to refine the process, you can work out where breaks should be (lunch time is a sacred time that no workshop must impinge on!), write process lists and make sure you know what’s what and when to do what.

And, with a workshop like this, you get to get your hands dirty (I used to be a fieldwork archaeologist, I miss the mud), so doing a test run is even more appealing!

So, test run day came and, with much excitement and a little trepidation (I’ve never worked with modrock before and my modelling skills aren’t exactly world renowned) I began to create my own canopic jar.

Advisory notice:  No organs were harmed in the making of this post.

Materials I had to hand:  modrock (like the stuff they use to bandage broken limbs), newspaper, masking tape (vital!), empty plastic squash bottle (although my Mother, when looking at my pictures of the test run, thought that it was a glass bottle and asked me if I should use glass with children… I am a professional you know…), bowl, tepid water, yeowling cat (I threatened him with mummification but he didn’t seem worried).

Step 1:  Make a newspaper tube that will enable the head to be slotted into the top of the squash bottle.

Canopic jar step 1

Step 2:  On the top of the aforementioned newspaper tube create the head of the canopic jar as a ball of newspaper.  Make ears and any other features for the head. Liberal use of masking tape is advised.

Canopic jar step 2

Can you guess which head I’m making yet?

Step 3: Masking tape ears and other features to head ball.

Canopic jar step 3

Step 4: Check the head fits snuggly into the squash bottle.  At this point you may need to tape the squash bottle down with duct tape, I didn’t do this.  Cue ‘hilarious’ moments during the next few steps of balancing squash bottles whilst modrocking, gently pushing cat from under feet and needing at least four arms.

Canopic jar step 4

Step 5: Quick cup of tea – necessary preparation as tepid water is needed so you might as well have tea as well. Put a layer of newspaper on the counter and put tepid water in a bowl (I suggest one that isn’t precious to you).  Now wrap the head carefully in modrock.

Canopic jar step 5

Step 6:  Stand back and admire your work so far.

Canopic jar step 6

Step 7:  Modrock the squash bottle, one layer is enough.  Give the cat a treat so that he stops trying to interfere with the artistic proces.

Canopic jar step 7

Step 8:  Voila!  Canopic jar is complete!  Well, except for adding painted decoration, but my workshop is only one day and so the children won’t have time to do this.  They will design on paper the head decoration and can complete this at home once the modrock is totally dry.

Canopic jar step 8

At this stage it is also advisable to ignore certain family members who liken your creation to Bugs Bunny.

I am also devising other activities that will complement this workshop and help to fill the whole day.  These include creating card collars for the jars (dual purpose – will be decorated like Egyptian necklaces but also serve to hide the join between head and bottle), the design of the decorated head, a tour round the museum and a discussion of the practice of mummification (to highlight not just the process but the reasoning behind it).

Workshops like this are designed to enthuse, occupy, interest, create learning opportunities and engage.