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Skills for the Future update – Running an Event

Our Skills for the Future traineeships are now in their second year of running, with trainees being given the opportunity to learn a diverse range of heritage skills. Visitor Services trainee Abbie Chidwick gives MEAL Blog the lowdown on organising and running her first event at the Museum.

I started working at the Museum of East Anglian Life half way through August as the Visitor Services Skills for the Future Intern and I can’t believe how quickly time is going – work here certainly gives you a full diary, which was epitomised for me through running and organising the Christmas Craft Fayre (held on 30th November 2012). Although I am a naturally busy person, things got a little bit hectic (even for me!) as I learnt just how much organisation and work is involved in running an event – it has certainly opened my eyes to event management!

This event has always been about the Museum and its local community. The Museum of East Anglian Life always aims to support local businesses as much as possible, so when deciding on stallholders for the Fayre, I always tried to encourage those from the locality, taking into account the variety of crafts which I wanted to offer to visitors. This was one of the most challenging parts of organising the event, as I needed to fill 20 stalls with a good range of crafts. However, with a little help, I managed it, and (despite a few cancellations on the day) I believe we had a good array of crafts for visitors to choose from.


That was only one of many things which needed organising before the day of the Fayre; I also had to promote the event, and ensure Santa was organised as well as doing a risk assessment, and making sure everywhere was set up and decorated (alongside many other things). I also had the opportunity to work alongside the Stowmarket Town Forum, as the Christmas Fayre at the Museum is part of the much bigger event of the Christmas Light Switch On, joining in with the festivities of the Town. So there was a lot to do. This was where I really appreciated the teamwork through the many staff and volunteers who helped with the event; there’s nothing as valuable as a pair (or more!) of helping hands when the pressure is on, and I really needed the help I got towards the final preparations for the event.

Finally, it was great to be a part of the community festivities through running the Christmas Fayre, and always great to hear feedback and do an evaluation of the event to improve it for next year. It has also given me practical insight into running events in general, and I’m sure the lessons learned from this one will definitely be useful when getting involved in the next one!

It was also great to be so involved with an event which was an extension of the Christmas Light Switch On in the Town.

Thanks to Abbie for giving us an insight into her experiences.

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