In February this year I started my volunteer guide training. I really enjoyed my training with my mentor, V&A Guide Elizabeth Hamilton, and my assessment was fun too. I actually gave my first talk to my carer, on the 14 bus on the way back from visiting the Thomas Becket exhibition.
I have Aspergers and always have dreamt of being a museum guide. It is destiny for me to be part of the team delivering daily talks in the Raphael gallery, as well as a privilege.
When I started as a tour trainee with the amazing Elizabeth, training felt 10 times harder as it was during the height of COVID and in lockdown.
I had online meetings with my mentor and my amazing carer team to learn about the Miraculous Draft of Fishes. I was a librarian at Fulham palace and felt it was a lovely full round circle to end up as a specialist Raphael guide at the museum.
It was a deep privilege arriving behind the scenes to the Raphael Gallery. My Aspergers did not diminish my ambition to be a guide, and I am proud to be the first V&A guide with Aspergers. It’s like being an artist, we need break the mould. I have always wanted to be a guide at the Victoria and Albert Museum and I shall now focus on being the best .
Here I am giving my first talk after Lockdown to my sister and flatmates, to practice during my training.
I feel a huge sense of achievement, hope to make waves in the museum and set a trend. I think that guiding is like acting, you have ups and downs and with this new knowledge I hope to inspire people to give things a try.
I am in the process of training to deliver full tours. The Greeks use the word enthused. Here I am enthused to give the talk of the Raphael Cartoons.
Everything is possible.
A special mention to Doune Meynell who was my carer in lockdown. She is an artist from the Royal School of Drawings and is one of my Guardian angels.
I am also grateful for having an excellent Volunteer Manager, Caterina Bisquert, one in a million; as well as my mentor Elizabeth, and carers Helen Cameron and John Gethin.
I believe that people are like cakes: with the right ingredients (or people) everyone can become amazing. I hope that the cake of my talks has the best icings!