Working remotely from nearly two hundred miles away isn’t how I envisioned my start at Wheal Martyn as the new Trainee Curator, but such is the hand this pandemic has dealt. My name is Alexander Thomas and museums and heritage have always held an important part of my life. Even as a child I was dragging my parents from museum to castle to museum, no matter where we’d decided to travel to. So it came as little surprise when – after finishing two degrees in Ancient History – I took a (hopefully final, for my savings’ sake if nothing else) degree in Museum and Heritage Development at Nottingham Trent University. After that, came the all-important job hunt. Which was something of an even bigger challenge than normal, seeing as it was in the middle of a pandemic.

It had been over a year when I came across Wheal Martyn’s traineeship and I knew immediately I wanted to pursue it. I had already been volunteering at an industrial heritage site and knew both the value of keeping that heritage alive and the rewards of making it accessible to people who might think it’s not for them. It was also, to me, a perfect opportunity to take that all-important first step into the heritage sector, a sector I love. And finally, it was an opportunity to work in an absolutely beautiful part of the world. A part of the world I had been to several times before in my childhood and now a place I cannot wait to get back to.

As my first couple of weeks come to an end, I have hit the ground running and been welcomed by the wonderful team here at Wheal Martyn. I have completed several rewarding tasks, such as a survey of the amazing Wheal Martyn photo archive, and now look forward to what is to come. I look forward to working with a brilliant team of dedicated people. I look forward to working at a place with so much history and such great stories to tell. I look forward to leaving my (albeit beloved) rolling hills and valleys here in mid-Wales and coming to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Now I just need to get there.