A reflection on my partner museum placement – Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM), Newcastle (Jacob Nii Marley, Ghana, ITP 2019)

Sage Gateshead, view from the Quayside

Written by Jacob Nii Marley, Technical Assistant, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana (ITP 2019, Ghana).

Our arrival in Newcastle was greeted by a showery afternoon and following the weather forecast for the days ahead I expected worse. Withstanding this, I still held high hopes for Newcastle. Upon arrival at the train station, we were met by Jackie Bland – Training and Governance Officer who welcomed us and showed us around the city. I must say it was a fascinating experience and she really made us feel at home. TWAM manages a total of ten venues of which we managed to visit five.

First was the Discovery Museum where we were stationed and at this same venue was the Archives. With Archivist Lead, Lizzy Baker, we toured the archives and learnt about its operations and connection with the museum. We also had the opportunity of visiting the Great North Museum: Hancock, just in time to see the famous Dippy on tour. It was an interesting time with Keeper of Archaeology Andrew Parkin who guided us through the galleries and shared with us insights on the collections. Also, at the Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum, we were led by Venue Manager Geoff Woodward who gave us a history of Segedunum and a tour of the Roman site. Our last visit to TWAM venues was Arbeia Fort where we were received by Keeper of Archaeology, Alex Croom and had the opportunity of exploring the reconstructions.

Arbeia Fort, ITP participants with Alex

Another spectacular experience was our tour of Britain’s most important Roman monument – Hadrian’s Wall which was led by Bill Griffiths – Head of Programmes. Even more exciting, we stopped by Birdoswald Roman Fort where we were hosted by Senior Archaeologist and Author Tony Wilmott who is a leading authority on Hadrian’s wall.

Birdoswald Roman Fort, ITP participants with Tony, Jackie and Bill

Meeting Iain Watson – Director of TWAM at the end of our stay, we had a great conversation about our thoughts and experience on the programme so far and how best we could possibly incorporate that back at our home museums.

Without doubt I would say Newcastle was the best placement for 2019, I really enjoyed it!