Life at the Coffin Works

Second year student Solomon Lewis tells us about his work placement at Newman Bros. Museum…


When I was applying for placements in the first semester of my second year, I learnt a lot about application processes, how to create the perfect CV and how to stand out from the crowd. My expectations of Newman Brothers at the Coffin Works Museum have not only been matched but they have been exceeded – mainly due to the amount of work and responsibilities I have been given. The team at Newman Brothers really made an effort to make me feel welcome and have kept me busy every week. I am incredibly thankful to all the members of the team who have given up and continue to give up their time for me.

I can now say that I have a greater appreciation and understanding for what goes on behind the scenes at the museum. This is because for most of my time is spent working with different members of staff ranging from preservation, restoring, research and performing cleaning on an exhibit that would be shortly be open to the public, I found that I always had something to do. I began to appreciate the hard work and effort that museum curators put in so that people can enjoy the museum and its displays in all their magnificence. Working with different team members also gave me an insight into the different aspects of the museum and a chance to ask as many questions as possible to a team who are always patient and willing to provide answers.


Given the opportunity and the experience working on the front of house with other Newman Brothers employees, I have experienced a greater insight into how museums are run, and how important visitor relations are. Some of my front of house responsibilities includes taking telephone and internet bookings, welcoming visitors, clocking visitors in and out, offering tourist advice and where else to go locally. I am the first point of contact for our visitors, and as you know first impressions count. I am also looking forward to the opportunities as a volunteer guide, assisting with visitor surveys, helping with workshops and activities for all age groups.

Looking back on my few days spent at the Newman Brothers Museum, I feel I am having a terrific and truly fantastic time. I am experiencing a part of a museum that not many people know about, I have learnt things that few people will have heard of and I am very happy with my choice of placement. I got to learn to be proactive, not to hang back and wait to be asked to do things. Instead, I look for opportunities where I can help out and seize them. I always look for a chance to showcase my skills and add value to Newman Brothers. I am also determined to make a record of what skills I acquire from Newman Brothers. Keeping a detailed log of what I am doing to build up a bank of evidence to upgrade my CV in the future.  I am also making the most of many connections as possible at all levels and will keep in touch once my placement ends. I am planning on continuing volunteering with Newman Brothers Museum once my work placement is done.


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