The Young Archaeologists’ Club: Archaeologists of the Future

This Day of Archaeology found me multi-tasking as many archaeologists do. The bulk of my day was spent with the Mersey and Dee Young Archaeologists’ Club, on my day off from the History of Place project with some PhD reading and Society For Post-Medieval Archaeology Treasurer tasks in the evening-the life of an archaeologist is varied, exciting and never stops!

The image shows a sign that reads 'Galkoff's and the Secret Life of Pembroke Place: Stories from a fascinating Liverpool community'

Galkoff’s and the Secret Life of Pembroke Place: Stories from a fascinating Liverpool community

I joined the Mersey and Dee Young Archaeologists Club http://www.yac-uk.org/clubs/mersey-and-dee at their ‘summer school’ for a day working on the joint Museum of Liverpool/Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine project ‘Galkoffs and the secret life of Pembroke Place’ http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/galkoff/index.aspx in a session run by Placed http://www.placed.org.uk/

The Museum of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine are working together to preserve, record and display the heritage of two important buildings on Pembroke Place, Liverpool-the decorative tiles of P Galkoff butcher shop which opened in 1908 (although the tiles were added later in 1933) and one of the three last remaining examples of courtyard housing in Liverpool. Courtyard housing in Liverpool is of particular interest to me as it forms one of my PhD case studies. The team involved in delivering the project have planned a full schedule of engagement activities to enable the public to participate.

A handwritten list of reasons why we should save old buildings;They can show us how people used to live,

The YAC’s debated why we should save historic buildings or why we should demolish

Placed (Place-Education) deliver hands-on, creative activities to excite, empower and engage the public, in particular young people, about the built environment. The workshop they delivered involved a number of activities designed to inspire the young people to consider potential new uses for the buildings on Pembroke Place. We started the day debating the reasons why we might want to reuse a historic building or why we might want to demolish. We then looked at maps of the local area to consider who might be future users of the buildings and other environmental factors such as access, roads and the physical space available.

A young boy stands looking at a model of two rooms

A member with one of the models showing potential reuse

We investigated Pembroke Place by looking at historic maps and photographs, who lived and worked in the buildings previously and what is significant about the heritage of the buildings. We worked in teams to repurpose the buildings using design images for inspiration and then we built models showcasing our designs. The teams created models of a ‘tropical’ frozen yoghurt shop (linking with the school by providing healthy ‘tropical’ snacks), a community library/coffee shop that sold hot chocolate and a public indoor ‘zoo’ to showcase some of the worlds most poisonous creatures.

a number of young people stand gathered around a table on which a model of a building stands

The YAC teams all presented their visions of reuse

We had so much fun using the historic buildings as a template for our creative ideas for the future. None of the young people wanted to demolish the buildings-all wanted to creatively redesign them to be reused.

Working with young people to help them to participate in archaeology is important to me. Currently I’m working for Accentuate on the History of Place project. A major part of the History of Place http://historyof.place/ project is to engage young people, particularly young people who identify as Deaf or disabled, in their heritage. The project is researching 8 sites of disability in England, spanning 800 years.

A young boy is helped by a teacher to hold a windmill toy

A student at the Royal School for the Blind explores a hand held windmill as part of our ‘tunnels and seaside visits’ sensory story

In Liverpool, where I’m based, we are researching the Royal School for the Blind-the first of its kind in Britain (after Paris) and the oldest in continuous existence. Established in 1791 by a group of men, three of which were themselves blind, the school aimed to provide safe residence and training in the mechanical arts to blind men, women and children. Through our research we have uncovered some previously unseen objects and stories and are working to create a fully accessible exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool in January 2018. We have also been working with young people to create a sensory story, a mobile phone game and film about the history of the school.

A group of students are sat in a circle telling stories. One student holds a suitcase full of objects to help inspire a story.

Students from St Vincent’s School in Liverpool at a games workshop

I mentioned earlier some additional activities I did on Day of Archaeology. I’m involved with the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology http://www.spma.org.uk/ as Treasurer and I did some general tasks such as checking our bank balance, updating records and checking e-mails. To complete my Day of Archaeology I did some reading towards my PhD. I’m in my final year (in real time although i’m a part time student) at the University of Liverpool https://liverpool.academia.edu/KerryMasshederRigby investigating how a combined approach of archaeology and oral history can enhance our understanding of working class housing from 1790-1970. I find researching incredibly rewarding and as much as I’m excited to submit my thesis i’m also sad that my PhD experience is almost over. I am incredibly lucky to be working with so many brilliant people and on so many different themes. The final picture shows me at Pembroke Place with YAC in the background surveying where one of the two rows of courtyard housing stood.

are members of the Young Archaeologists Club carrying out geophysical surveying at Pembroke Place.

Here I am at Pembroke Place