Having a personal interest in working in a museum, I was eager to hear what a typical day was like for Roy and Eileen as “Learning Officers”. My preconceptions about the role had led me to believe it would involve producing brightly coloured posters and performing attention-grabbing experiments. However, the session opened my eyes to the additional pressures of the role; acquiring funding for workshops and adhering to tight deadlines.
“Trailblazers”, a scheme aimed at educating children about prevalent female scientists throughout history, seemed to be targeting an appropriate gap in science. As part of the British Science Festival this year, I took part in a workshop which received feedback reflecting that it was good to see young female scientists as role models for the children. As positive as this is, it shocks me that despite the vital contributions from Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, people still believe that females are few and far between in the lab. Museum workshops like this therefore need to become more common to allow young girls to aspire to breaking through into the world of science.
It is abundantly clear that we need to relay information to the younger generation so they know that science isn’t all about counting bacteria in a lab. Hopefully as the use of social media in science accelerates, the stigma of being a “geeky” scientist will disappear!