Thursday, 2 June 2016

Museum volunteer takes guests on a tour of the past

Ken Wells, Museum Volunteer

As a volunteer in the museum the job entails a bit of "multitasking" and involves giving outside talks to varies organisations, carrying out research enquiries (where members of the public have established a relative served in the police force) and showing visitors around the museum.

In relation to the talks, I do a total of four which includes the History of the Police and Scenes of Crime including photography and forensic, which is always well received. I am able to deliver this as I was a former Scenes Of Crime officer, and the remaining two are about two murders which happened several years ago. 

I suppose the most frequent organisations that visit must be the Women's Institute, followed by various History Groups. The research enquiries can be interesting especially when someone writes in telling us that their ancestor was a Chief Constable, and on one occasion I had to tell someone that their Great Grandfather only reached Constable 3rd class and was then dismissed with a "loathsome disease". When I spoke to that lady she quipped "I think we will forget all about him".

We look after many exhibits in the museum and I suppose the one which is of the most interest are those from the Great Train Robbery, which includes the Monopoly Board which the train robbers played with after the robbery. I actually took this on the Antiques Road Show where it was valued at £200 and when I returned to work we had offers of £3000. 

Recently Newbury Police Station celebrated 50 years and the museum was represented when the curator selected various items relating to Newbury, and they were put on display and I manned the stand we had been allocated. 

It certainly is a great job and I love it, as you are able to promote the force, and you meet many interesting people  who must enjoy it as we do receive many letters of thanks. 

I have now been connected to the police for 54 years, both as a police officer, civilian employee, and now a volunteer.

The Thames Valley Police museum is located at the White House, Sulhamstead. For more information, including how to arrange a visit, please see our website or follow @TVP_Museum.

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