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Walk in my Shoes18th May 2020

Life in lockdown: a museum bod trying to work from home

To honour Mental Health Awareness Week and to encourage our staff, volunteers, and organisations we work closely with to pay more attention to the present (aka mindfulness), we’ve asked a few of them to write a journal post and diary a day in lock down. These blogs will provide a snapshot of the everyday lives, experiences and wellbeing of our people.

Eileen Clegg
Community Archaeological Producer, National Museum Royal Navy 

My day starts as every day starts at the moment. Me sneaking out at 6:30 with my Nordic walking sticks to get a bit of exercise in my local park. Today it involved the usual, throwing myself into a bush to avoid the oncoming runner in the pink top; but unexpectedly also included stepping over a surprisingly confident male duck that quacked at me. I have never had to do that before, no social distancing observed, bad duck. 

I set up my laptop, pencil case, and notebook on my desk-dining table which looks out over a creek. Im so lucky to have such a wonderful view. It can be distracting at times, especially when the local swans come to fight over the food my neighbour throws to them every morning at around 10:00.


I am working out how to make a planned upcoming exhibition ‘Covid-safe’. We are working on the designs for an exhibition called “Diving Deep; HMS Invincible1744” which will open at The Historic Dockyard Chatham and at the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth (though when the exhibition will open is anybody’s guess at the moment). Making an exhibition ‘Covid safe’ sounds both boring and slightly scary at the same time. But chatting to the exhibition designers has got me all excited, we are going to build a hand sanitiser tower and which ‘squirt’ you go for will determine your exhibition character, anything from a serious archaeologist to the conga eel that bit said archaeologist. Oh I forgot to mention, this is an exhibition about an underwater archaeological excavation of a wreck.   

Normally taking a break would involve making a cup of tea in the office, but at home it usually involved doing something with washing. Putting it in the washing machine, taking it out, hanging it, taking it down, putting it away. Strangely enough, it is still myself that still does these tasks at home and not the other members of the family. Im not sure they understand the process much further than ‘putting it in’. 

A long meeting on-line. I almost prefer these to regular face to face meetings because they are being spiced up by my own and my colleague’s families. Today I had to persuade my son not to tunelessly sing along to something on his headphones, yesterday it was my husband sat in shot in his pyjamas. 

My day ends with working out what to cook for dinner, this starts to happen even before I have finished the last emails. Bangers and mash tonight. I might even have a dramatic huff and insist that somebody else cooks. Yes that sounds like a plan, a G&T might even be on the cards. 


Find out more about Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust’s initiatives for Mental Health Awareness

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