Work experience at The Mary Rose inspired my career | The Mary Rose
Work experience at The Mary Rose inspired my career
Learning | 18 Jul, 2023 | The Learning Team
Professional archaeologist's view 16 years on

Sixteen years ago Archaeologist Alice Dowsett undertook their secondary school work experience at the Mary Rose Museum. She didn’t anticipate it would lead them to become into a career as a professional archaeologist.

Work experience at The Mary Rose inspired my career

I grew up in Gosport and in 2007, I did my year 11 work experience at the Mary Rose Museum. I’d always loved history and wanted to do something interesting for my two weeks of work experience and my mum thankfully pushed me to get in contact with the Museum. I was daunted by the idea of taking the Gosport Ferry over to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard every day and working with proper adults! I remember this was exactly when I started drinking tea (with two sugars) because I wanted to seem grown up.

Alice Dowsett archaeologist - work experience Mary Rose MuseumAlice Dowsett archaeologist - UCL - Mary Rose Museum

The staff at the Mary Rose Museum were incredibly welcoming and put so much effort into giving me the best experience possible. I met members of the original diving team who excavated the ship on the sea floor, I went behind the scenes to look at the artefacts that were being conserved out of the public eye, and I got to interact with the public on a daily basis and help spread the excitement about the Mary Rose.

My favourite moment was when I was suddenly called outside by lots of excited people. They wanted me to see the arrival of an anchor from the Mary Rose that had only just been lifted from the sea floor and delivered to the Museum. Everyone was staring captivated at this anchor that was so well preserved and we were the first people to see it for over 460 years!

These two weeks really imprinted on me and strengthened the course for my future. I was amazed at the joy that archaeology can bring and noticed how many passionate and interesting people are attracted to this profession. During the next two years I needed to choose which undergraduate course to study and start thinking about universities. I had no hesitation, it was going to be archaeology and I couldn’t imagine studying anything different.

Archaeologist Alice Dowsett - Mary Rose work experience

I studied my undergraduate and master's degrees at University College London and I’ve been working for Archaeology South-East (UCL) now for over 10 years. I love my job and couldn’t imagine any other career path. I now work all over the South-east of England within big teams of archaeologists. I work on sites ranging from a Tudor harbour at Dover to a Bronze Age wetland in Eastbourne, and I recently published my first academic paper and co-authored my first monograph. I continue to enjoy the excitement that archaeology brings and I think about the Mary Rose Museum often and how the staff there gave me a really important insight into the joy of archaeology.

If you would like to learn more about Archaeology South East and the work we do, please follow any of our social media profiles:

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If you would like to do your work experience at the Mary Rose Museum, please contact [email protected].