New ARC officer has exciting plans to bring more guiding history to life

Engaging people of all ages with women’s history is what makes ARC Learning and Outreach Officer Rachel Duffield super-happy. That’s why she’s so delighted to be working at Girlguiding Norfolk’s Archive Resource Centre in Coltishall. The archive is packed with all sorts of fascinating documents and objects from over a century of Guiding history in Norfolk, and Rachel’s job is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to find out about it.

A former Taverham Brownie and Guide, Rachel comes to the archive after 12 years working for Norfolk Museums’ learning team. For many years she worked with school groups from Early Years to Further Education, specialising in costumed character work from maids to monarchs. She won two awards for her outstanding contribution to heritage education in the county.

More recently Rachel created fabulous family learning activities and worked with community groups for the refurbishment of Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse in West Norfolk, and co-produced the colossal community schools ‘Requiem’ project turning stories from Gt Yarmouth in WW1 into music with Orchestras Live and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

“Guiding is a really interesting facet of women’s history,” said Rachel. ‘The original guides and their leaders were such amazing, unstoppable trailblazers, doing things that women simply hadn’t attempted before. Many of them also supported the suffrage movement,and are tremendous role-models for girls today.”

Rachel has already started working with the established team of volunteers at the ARC and immediately they all pulled together to create from scratch, in a single day, ARC’s contribution to Heritage Open Days. “I have never met such a hardworking and enthusiastic group – what they have achieved here is incredible,” she said. “We  have some really exciting plans for future activities.”

In addition to the current offer of visits to the ARC, assisted by the ARC team Rachel is creating a suite of resources on different Guiding topics which will be available for groups to borrow, and a programme of one-off events including a large-scale Gang Show reminiscence event for past members, a sleepover for Kids in Museums Takeover day, and ‘Afternoon Tea with the Baden-Powells..

Rachel’s appointment was made possible by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

If you have any questions about events or activities at the ARC please contact Rachel on LOOGGarchives@gmail.com.

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