Hi, my name’s Emma and I am the D-Day 75 Intern at The D-Day Story. My role is to deliver the HLF D-Day 75 Community Project. I will be updating you on the progress of the project here.
This project is quite different from anything that the D-Day Story and I have done previously. So we know it will bring some new challenges.
Challenge number one lay in finding community groups that wanted to be involved in the project. In the past the museum has often worked with groups that have conducted research projects before or feel more confident in their ability to do so. However with this project, the aim was to work with community groups that don’t regularly connect with the museum service.
This made it tricky finding them in the first place. We initially put out a research application on our website, but groups who don’t visit the museum don’t tend to look on the museum website.
So we took a different approach. Being part of Portsmouth City Council is really beneficial. It means we have good connections with other services within the council, such as the independence and wellbeing team.
Once we had spread the word about the project throughout the council we had lots of interest in the project.
In November and December, once we had selected the groups, I met up with each one and started to get them excited about the project. Two groups came on a visit to The D-Day Story. I gave them a tour, we had a good chat over tea and biscuits (a must for every meeting) and then we decided on their research topic.
We were even able to have John Jenkins, a 99-year-old D-Day veteran come and talk to one of the groups about his experience landing on the Normandy beaches! This was an amazing experience for the group and we all got a bit emotional!
I am looking forward to our next steps in the New Year. Most groups will be getting started on some research and hopefully uncovering some amazing stories to share with the wider Portsmouth Community. So keep your eyes peeled for some more updates!