My Experience as an Intern from Douai

As a French student living in Douai, my city offered me to go on a trip to Harrow, twined with Douai, in order to develop the social and cultural relationships. I had the opportunity to spend two days at Headstone Manor Museum, in the Archives section. I have always loved to study history, specially World War II. I was so thrilled to sort out and arrange all of those artefacts and old objects from the 20th century. My missions in the Archives section were various. I was allowed to spend a lot of time studying every document.

When I took a box full of objects, I could not help looking at all of them for a long time, then checking their classification number and comparing it with the numbers on the box. Finally, I would put them back in the box when the number was correct. My favorite part of this experience was being able to look at those objects and feel their connection with the past. It is practically impossible to describe the feeling when you handle one of the newspapers announcing the end of the War, the death of Hitler, or the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II.

Also, I had the opportunity to hold dangerous objects, and it was really impressive. I was so shocked to hold a real bomb and a gas mask. There was still toxic gas in it, we didn’t have much time to manipulate them.

With this experience I felt like being on the field, listening to a soldier’s life through his helmet, by having the opportunity to read their testimonies. When I study history, it is like making my own mark. It feels like being able to learn again and again. These artefacts are never the same, I can understand so much through them.

I hope I will have the chance to live again this experience soon enough, it was a pure delight. –  Hélène Fauvel

Check out the article by Helene and Janelle in L’Observateur here too.




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