The work of the heritage sector and its ability to effectively present the past to a wide variety of audiences in today’s societies in an extensive range of ways is something which has for many years now been of great interest to me. For me there is no better way to spend a dreary rainy afternoon than pacing the grand halls of stately homes, gazing intently into display cabinets containing the remnants of societies past and taking a few moments to stand back and admire the grandeur and detail of monuments and memorials. It is almost as if in visiting these historical sites you are offered a direct lens into the past and are transported to another world.
Undertaking voluntary roles at a number of historic properties has only served to fuel my passion for the sector. Therefore when the opportunity arose for the work placement at the Egham Museum in which I could gain further experience in the heritage sector in a way that enabled me to be actively involved in the presentation of local histories to the public by way of an exhibition I was beyond excited.
I admit that before moving to Egham to study at Royal Holloway I knew very little about the history of the local area and was ignorant of the importance of the Magna Carta. It was simply something that my history curriculum at secondary school did not touch upon. However after visiting the Magna Carta memorial for a tutorial task in my first year of studies I was awakened to the significance of the event not only on a local level but national and international levels also. This led me to wonder how many other people my age are aware of the legacy of the Magna Carta? And beyond this, how well connected is the local population of Egham to this significant past event? As the Magna Carta soars towards its 800th anniversary and events are organised around the world to commemorate it, such issues are more relevant than ever.
Consequently, I am aiming in my research to bring a fresh and insightful study of the Magna Carta and local identity which can be appreciated by all no matter what level of awareness they have of the event. Finally, in doing so I sincerely hope to excite more interest in the heritage sector and stress the importance it has in our lives especially to others my age who I feel often dismiss the vast opportunities the sector offers them to engage with the past and how fascinating these can be. Wish me luck!