Archive | April, 2016

When Easter Holiday Rolls Around…

26 Apr

Ethan Morris, a graduate student in the public history program, is the first MTSU student to participate in the study abroad program at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England! This week Ethan discusses a few vacation spots he recommends while visiting northern England!

When Easter Holiday Rolls Around…

I’m going to take a short break from commenting on coursework and internships, to discuss three trips that I recommend to anyone visiting northern England. At Northumbria University, Easter holiday is three weeks long. I can only assume that after two weeks of reading and writing papers, you may want to get out and about. If you can manage two train rides, a bus ride, a ferry ride, and then all of that again on the way home, then visit Cumbria’s Lake District. The Lake District is one of the National Trust’s most visited parks and constitutes some 885 square miles, includes numerous public paths through private land, and is so expansive that despite the crowds you sometimes believe you’ve got the whole place to yourself. While at the park, hike England’s highest mountain and drop by the homes of the poet William Wordsworth and the children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter (the creator of Peter Rabbit and an advocate for the National Trust).

After visiting the Lake District, take a trip to Cragside. Lord William George Armstrong, a nineteenth century inventor and arms manufacturer, built the home in 1863. It was the first home in the world to be powered by hydroelectric energy. The home’s stunning architecture and curious interior design reflect Armstrong’s inventive personality—the landscape does as well. Today, the property is covered in thick woodlands and full of caves, stone bridges, streams, tarns, and picturesque lakes. Most visitors would never guess that Armstrong designed each aspect of the environment. Believe it or not, the property was a treeless moor when Armstrong first encountered it many years ago. Only after 150 years is his dream fully realized. It’s simply breathtaking, and what’s more, it’s managed by the National Trust.

The last spot, interestingly enough, is not even in England. If you’re particularly fond of large cities, northern England may let you down, but the bustling city of Edinburgh, Scotland is a mere hour and half away by train. The railroad hugs the Northumberland coastline and offers some of the best views of the North Sea that you’ll find anywhere. Plan to spend a few days in Edinburgh; you’ll need it, and you won’t regret it. The city thrives on literary tourism. Indeed, the United Nations declared it the world’s first “City of Literature” in 2004. Visitors can drop by the birthplace of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (marked now by a statue of Sherlock Holmes), hike the 287 steps to the top of the Sir Walter Scott monument, traipse around Robert Louis Stevenson’s neighborhood, and sip espresso in the Elephant House café where J.K. Rowling penned the first lines of Harry Potter. After a day visiting the haunts of your favorite authors, check out Edinburgh’s many free museums. The conjoined National Gallery and the Royal Academy for the arts is a must as well as the Scottish National Museum (their new exhibit on Scottish history does an excellent job exploring Scottish cultural and political identity). For a museum student, Edinburgh is hard to beat.

CragsideEdinburghThe Lake District

-Ethan Morris, Public History Graduate Student


My Internship at the National Trust

10 Apr

Ethan Morris, a graduate student in the public history program, is the first MTSU student to participate in the study abroad program at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England! This week Ethan discusses his work placement at the National Trust.


My Internship at the National Trust

               I suppose I’ve done two work placements this semester. The first at Bede’s World, which received coverage in past posts, and the second at the northeastern offices of the National Trust. The National Trust, founded in 1895, is the British equivalent of the United States’ National Park Service. Like the National Park Service, the Trust preserves historic homes, monuments, gardens, and landscapes. My two work placements have been part of one of my classes, Work Place Project. Similar to the summer internships we complete between our first and second years, Northumbria’s arts, media, and cultural management students complete a work placement in the semester before summer graduation.

            Dr. Susan Ashley and Ms. Jennifer Hinves team-teach Work Place Project. Teaching, however, is minimal. The class only meets three times. During the first two meetings, scheduled for the first two weeks of the semester, Dr. Ashley and Ms. Hinves led discussions over literature on cultural management. We also participated in a question-and-answer session with Nicholas Baumfeild, a senior administrator with the northern offices of Arts Council England. Arts Council England (the English equivalent of America’s National Endowment for the Arts) awards a significant portion of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which, as mentioned in a previous post, is the sum of all lottery ticket purchases in Britain. Furthermore, Dr. Ashley invited two other interested students and myself to an organizational meeting for the National Trust’s £7 million (nearly $10 million) project at Seaton Delaval Hall. The project intends to repair the hall, reimagine the site’s public programming, and engage new audiences. The project is a trial run for a number of ideas the Trust could implement nationally. At the time, I was simply interested in finding out as much about British organizations as possible. Little did I know that in two week’s time, Bede’s World would close, I would scramble, and Dr. Ashley would help me get a placement with the Trust. Before I detail my responsibilities with the Trust, let me say a bit more about the course. Students spend much of the semester, up to eight weeks, completing a work placement. While we work, we are (1) required to study our organization’s management structure and (2) plan a project that will involve our working with management to contribute to our organization’s mission. At the end of the eight week work placement, we will submit a 5,000-word report on all that we observed and contributed. During the final class meeting, each student will deliver a short presentation on their work placement.

            I am excited about working with the Trust. I split my time between working at Seaton Delaval Hall, which sets along the coast near the town of Seaton Sluice, and working from home. At Seaton Delaval Hall, I serve as the volunteer coordinator, a task I share with a classmate who is also doing her work placement with the Trust. We are inputing volunteer data into the Trust’s management software (designed by Blackbaud), helping volunteers begin to use the software, planning ways to recruit new volunteers from varying age and interest brackets, and training volunteers on audience engagement strategies. When I’m not working as a volunteer coordinator, I am helping the Trust’s grant writer and project leaders organize the Trust’s work placement program. Hopefully, the work placement options I am helping to create will be ready for interested students by the time you consider hopping the pond. You’ll have to let me know how it turns out.


DSCN8809Ethan Working at Seaton Delaval Hall


DSCN8818%20%281%29Seaton Delaval Hall

IMG_2471The view from Ethan’s desk

-Ethan Morris, Public History Graduate Student