Shropshire Council celebrates museum team in Volunteers Week
A team of volunteers who enhance visitors’ experiences at Shropshire Museums and Archives service is being celebrated this week – national Volunteers Week (1-7 June 2022).
Over the course of a year approximately 120 volunteers offer their time to support the service across Shropshire Council-run venues.
Their roles include welcoming visitors, helping improve access to collections and exhibitions and a range of activities that enhance the service programme, and in return volunteers become part of a welcoming and friendly community, build their knowledge and skills and can gain valuable work experience.
Fay Bailey, Shropshire Council’s museums and archives manager, explained:-
“We run an inclusive volunteering programme for people of all ages and backgrounds, and Shropshire Museums and Archives is fortunate to be supported by a wonderful team of volunteers to enhance the work we do.
“Our visitor experience volunteers at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery for example share stories with visitors, bring the collection to life and really do make a visit to the museum extra special, and we see this daily from our visitor feedback.
“Curatorial volunteers at Shropshire Museums Collections Centre work with our curators to improve the documentation of our objects, help photograph and digitise these, and support repacking work to help preserve them into the future.
“Our annual volunteers survey shows how much the team gets out of their time with us too. Many say it gives them structure to their week and a reason for looking outwards instead of inwards and dwelling on concerns. I think volunteering certainly adds to people’s wellbeing.”
Volunteer Catherine Coles, 82, says she loves her weekly morning session at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.
The retired teacher said:-
“I have volunteered since the mid-1990s and I look forward to my regular morning session every week.
“I especially enjoy working with the team here, who are all fabulous, but I enjoy interacting with the visitors too. It is wonderful when the young children come in for our Mini Mammoths sessions too.
“Having this routine keeps me motivated and gives me a discipline.”
History enthusiast John Benbow, 70, has always held the museum dear.said:-
“I used to come to the museum as a child and I have always enjoyed history. I helped preparing artefacts when they were moved from Rowley’s House, and this allows me to enjoy my hobby as well as keeping me involved.”
As a former human resources manager, John added:-
“I think volunteering opportunities are excellent for younger people too. It helps them gain work experience and gives them something extra to put on their CVs.
“I have been here for 12 years and I have seen some of the younger volunteers go on to develop quite impressive careers.”
Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, and transport, added:-
“The most important thing is that volunteering must work for each individual, and support their specific motivations and needs as well as assisting our organisations.
“We celebrate the work of all volunteers both in our museums and archives service and broadly across the whole of the council and beyond.
“We are lucky to have people who willingly give their time, and they make a huge difference to our communities.”
To find out more about volunteering with Shropshire Council visit: www.shropshiremuseums.org.uk/get-involved-2/
And to find out about Volunteers Week visit: https://volunteersweek.org/