For lovers of history, who like getting out and about, there is the opportunity to learn how to be a heritage guide for free, with all expenses paid.
The opportunity offers exclusive behind the scenes trips to heritage sites.
You would also get to go to lectures from top historians and academics.
The overall aim is to develop interest in local history and heritage.
While preparing this post, I discovered there is a British Association for Local History, which might be of further interest. This is a charity designed to encourage and support local history and historians. It produces its own magazine.
However this opportunity is being provided by, amongst others, the Culture Unit of Eastleigh Borough Council.
The value of a good guide
The Culture Unit of Eastleigh Borough Council, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Gods House Tower Museum, are providing this chance for volunteers to learn new skills.
They refer to volunteers becoming “heritage interpreters”. I know from various places I’ve visited around the country a good guide makes such an impact and positive difference to the day out. You learn a great deal. They often add much fun to the day trip, encouraging return visits. Visits to places of local interest all help the local (and indeed national) economy.
My son and I won’t forget the river cruise guide in London who, on pointing out the Traitor’s Gate entrance to the Tower of London, said when someone asked why the building behind was called the Bloody Tower, replied it was because it was “behind the bloody trees”! Everyone laughed but the guide then went on to give invaluable (and more accurate!) information.
But it was fun, we remembered the joke and information shared, and that lighthearted but enjoyable impression lingers with people. And I hope the enjoyment of history can be shared with this opportunity to become what the programme calls a “heritage interpreter”. (Not sure I like the term, I think I prefer guide but there you go).
Heritage Interpreter Programme
The programme to become a “heritage interpreter” is free and includes:-
- Gaining behind the scenes access and visits to local heritage sites and attractions.
- A lecture programme from top academics and historians.
- A chance to be involved in a major festival and be part of the opening of a new heritage attraction.
Not only is the training free, expenses are covered too. There would also be the opportunity to have further training for anyone wanting to become a blue badge guide. So if anyone was interested in working in tourism or history (and often these are combined), this could be worth investigating.
There are no details about the festival as yet.
The Culture Unit at Eastleigh Borough Council welcome expressions of interest. The lecture programme, site visits and skills training will start in the autumn with the festival programme planned for 2017. This project is also part of the two year Road to Agincourt programme.
If you would like to register your interest or seek further information, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing date is 31st July 2016.
The importance of local history
I’ve always loved history, particularly British history, as it is the story of where we come from (and without that knowledge, how can we think about where we are heading? This is pertinent now given Brexit!).
And local history can have a massive impact on national history. In recent posts I’ve looked at Agincourt and the local connections we have with a centuries old battle that still resonates with people (if only because the story about the origin of the V sign refers to the archers here and it is still an urban myth).
Then again local history records that Chandler’s Ford was used as a storage post during World War Two (as Mike’s post shows) and back up roles such as this all contributed to the success of the war effort. After all armed forces need good supply lines, which in turn need secure and well run storage facilities, which are not bombed out.
So local history should not be overlooked or dismissed as only being of interest to those in the particular area. It is often significant, contributing to the overall picture and history of this country. The Medieval Weekend coming up at the end of this month should also illustrate this well given the local links with the Battle of Agincourt.
I hope all who decide to follow this opportunity up have a wonderful time learning about becoming a heritage interpreter. And if anyone reading Chandler’s Ford Today does explore this idea and tries this opportunity, it would be nice to let us know how you get on!
Read interviews with Chandler’s Ford writer Allison Symes: Part 1 and Part 2.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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