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Buses, Bristlebots, Blocks and Bioblitz – By Karl Hardy.

Thursday 31st August 2017


August Best Bits

Aycliffe and District Bus Preservation Society Day

15th August 2017 at Discovery Museum

I accepted the Aycliffe and District Bus Preservation Society Day role in around April, because I like heritage buses and the role sounded good. My role was to work from within the museum, telling visitors about the bus trip, such as where it was going and how long it would take, record their names and give out tickets for the free bus trips. The bus arrived late in authentic bus style. The 30 minute bus trip went from Discovery Museum along Scotswood Road to William Armstrong Drive, with the bus leaving every hour at half past the hour. I went on the fourth trip and we went past the museum making the journey longer, which was good. The diesel powered 1964 Daimler bus was a beautiful example but was rather noisy! The visitors enjoyed the free bus trips, which were quite popular.  Historic buses appeal to visitors young and old, and the event was a success.

I am looking forward to the Aycliffe and District Bus Preservation Society returning to Discovery Museum in October with more buses.


Community Participation workshop – Robots

16th August 2017 offsite at Pattinson House, Gateshead

A fabulous idea. A robot themed workshop inspired by the sci-fi art of John McHale and Eduardo Paolozzi. A workshop planned because the group had already done the usual pavilion inspired activities – collages and building. The so-called bristlebots referenced in the title, were actually cancelled in favour of sponge bots.


The group was pre-booked as usual, but surprisingly nobody actually turned up to the workshop to make robot collages, sponge robots or a giant cardboard robot, it makes it into my August volunteering highlights nonetheless as it would’ve been good as the community participation workshops always have been. A distinct lack of photographs on this one due to the unfortunate cancellation of the workshop. The workshop is still intended to happen in the future, as it was disappointing it didn’t happen after such good planning and preparation. I hope it does, I was looking forward to it!

I’d like to give a mention to both Edberts House and Pattinson House, in the Heworth and Felling areas of Gateshead respectively, as two outstanding and exciting community hubs. I’m volunteering at Edberts House in late September with 7-11 year olds, hopefully we can do robot activities then.


Summer events Lego brick paintings

22nd August 2017 at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery


The Lego brick painting activity (using Lego bricks dipped in paint to make pictures, patterns and, of course, a mess!) was planned to fit in with the temporary summer exhibition at SSMAG, Little Lego Landmarks, with ten famous South Tyneside landmarks recreated in Lego, including South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, Arbeia, and The Word, National Centre for the Written Word. Due to a lack of visitors, and parents not wanting their children covered in paint (you could say they blocked them from participating in the activity!), it didn’t get busy. It was a nice idea though and the children (and adults) who did take part enjoyed it. It was interesting to see what people made and good to see the summer exhibition was popular with visitors. Yesterday, at Arbeia children made mosaic patterns and pictures using card, tissue paper and coloured pencils, and once again it was interesting to see their creations.


ERIC mini Bioblitz

24th August 2017 offsite at Exhibition Park, Newcastle

ERIC is the Environmental Records Information Centre for the North East.

It was good to have a nice summer day out at Exhibition Park with the ERIC team, Paul Stevens (ERIC North East Co-ordinator) and Katie Frith and Ian Thomas (ERIC North East Officers) and gain more experience working outdoors with members of the public, as I had done previously at the Hatton Pavilion. We were given a rota at the start of the day at GNM. Each of the three volunteers were paired up with a member of the team. Ferrying participants from the museum to Exhibition Park, minibeast hunting and pond dipping made the three teams. Dragonflies and damselflies were in the pond. Sheets were available to identify the species. Some surprise rain, and temperatures turning cold and breezy didn’t put an end to the enjoyment. The participants enjoyed both pond dipping and minibeast hunting. Ian said to email about the day, good bits, things to improve and the likes. Well, I will and hopefully this post also goes some way to sharing my thoughts and reflecting on the day. Hopefully an opportunity such as this comes up again in the future.


My All the Fun of the Fair exhibition and Archaeology Finds Assistant roles have also been highlights of the month.

Well, that is my August volunteering highlights.

Not long to wait until my next blog post, next week in fact!






  1. Gravatar for twmuseums_usr

    twmuseums_usr31st Aug 2017

    I can't believe how much you manage to fit in Karl - but thank you! It sounds like you have a wonderful time whatever you do.

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