Something had occurred whilst I was away on holiday. The permanent veil of scaffolding surrounding the old town hall building had vanished. It appeared to be some sort of trendy new restaurant. There were rows of tables tucked under a canopy of umbrellas with people laughing and sipping wine. Above the door, I read St. Albans Museum + Gallery.
“It’s a museum!” I proclaimed loudly inside my head as I entered the building.
The reception area was immense and bustling with activity. Impulsively, I made a left and found myself amongst the many attractive items for sale in the gift shop. A beautifully embossed metallic notebook caught my eye and just like that, I felt at home. Now armed with my new stationery and the museum program guide I was ready for anything.
The renovations proved to be as grand as they were intriguing. Heritage merged with the contemporary in a way that I had never seen before. This was especially apparent in the Assembly Room. The stately chandeliers were suspended opulently above modern sculptures of chainmail and barbed wire. Moreover, the once honourable Courtroom had been converted into cafe seating.
On the walk home I began to reflect. I felt very grateful to have such an outstanding centre of culture at my doorstep. I had recently moved to St. Albans due to the short commute into London however, I had not spent a great deal of time in the town. Aside from sharing a few kind words with the dry cleaners, I had no real friends and I certainly did not feel apart of the community.
Later that evening, inspiration struck. I went to the museum's website and everything made sense. Community, art, and connection could soon be mine. With a single click, I sent out my application for a volunteer position and waited with anticipation.