U3A Shared Learning Project

 Over 10 weeks from September 2010, BPMA welcomed a group of 10 volunteers from the University of the Third Age (U3A). BPMA was taking part in its first Shared Learning Project with the U3A which culminated in a presentation day in January.

The U3A volunteers.

The U3A volunteers.

U3A Shared Learning Projects are research projects that take place between a group of U3A members and an organisation like a museum, gallery or library. The topic of the research can be proposed by the group or the organisation and the work should be beneficial to the volunteers and the organisation. U3A has worked on projects like this with the British Museum, The Foundling Museum, Museum of London and others.

The group spent the 10 weeks with us researching copies of the Post Office Magazine, the staff magazine which ran from 1934 into the 1950s. BPMA has an extensive photograph collection, much of which is catalogued and available online.

A page from the May 1939 issue of the Post Office Magazine.

A page from the May 1939 issue of the Post Office Magazine.

There are many photographs which we don’t have very much background on and the project team were tasked with both indexing articles from the issues of the Post Office Magazine and also noting any photographs in them which also appeared in the online catalogue.

Photograph of a postman and two beefeaters at The Tower of London, as published in the Post Office Magazine, February 1939.

Photograph of a postman and two beefeaters at The Tower of London, as published in the Post Office Magazine, February 1939.

This project has been hugely beneficial to the BPMA. Over 1000 records of articles have been created and around 200 links to photos on the catalogue have been found.

The group also researched a topic of interest related to our collections and presented their findings to each other and BPMA staff. The topics were varied and included Women and the Post Office, Art in the Post Office, The Postcode System and the Post Office Rifles.

John gives a presentation on the Post Office (London) Railway, also known as "Mail Rail".

John gives a presentation on the Post Office (London) Railway, also known as "Mail Rail".

We have also learnt a lot about carrying out a project like this which will help us in the future when we hope to run another Shared Learning Project with the U3A. We would like to thank all those involved in the project for their help in making it a success.

Shared Learning Project volunteer Margaret Birkinshaw’s presentation on Women and the Post Office will be posted on this blog on Friday.

One response to “U3A Shared Learning Project

  1. Pingback: Jobs for the Girls – Women in the Post Office | The British Postal Museum & Archive

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