Melissa Hawker

Melissa Hawker from Ancient House and Lynn Museum giving a tour

Why do you take part in Heritage Open Days? 

Ancient House and Lynn Museum love getting involved in Heritage Open Days. It enables us to reach new audiences, share our fantastic local history, and be part of a large event working with other wonderful heritage sites cross our town.

What does your job involve?

My job is to make sure that everyone who visits our museums learns something new – that means everyone from babies, to school children, to families, to adults and teenagers. I get to work in costume representing people from the past from Iceni warriors to 1960s factory workers and everything in-between.

What do you like best about your role? 

What a tough question! My favourite part is making links with the past – holding a Stone Age hammer stone and feeling my thumb naturally sit in the same smoothed niche of the Neolithic knapper – and working to help visitors enjoy the same feeling of connection.

What is special to you about Norfolk?

Norfolk has an amazing and surprising history. I love the little known pieces of Norfolk history like the secret First World War tank testing, Britain’s first Black mayor, Seahenge and that we are home to the first postcodes!

What do visitors gain from taking part in Heritage events?

I believe that museums can change lives and that representation is vital. One of my fondest memories of Heritage Open Day is from 2018 when our Teenage History Club opened their Pride of the People: Helping History Out of the Closet exhibition and many visitors were able to see their LGBTQ+ ancestors represented in a museum.

Describe your Heritage Open Days experience in three words.  

Joyful; intriguing; discovery