Written by Adam Koszary, Project Officer for Our Country Lives.
Since last week was National Volunteering Week, I thought it would be worth dwelling on the volunteering opportunities for this week’s update. Volunteers play a massive part in the operation of MERL, from staffing events to carrying out vital work on the conservation of objects, cataloguing archives and welcoming visitors on the front desk (see Rob’s post for more on why we love our volunteers).
Volunteers, of course, come from many walks of life and give up their time in museums for different reasons. Some volunteer as a way to build up their experience in the hope of one day working in a museum for money, a position I was in only a year ago. Others volunteer to meet people, to fill their days, or simply because they have a passion for our collections or subject matter.
We will hear in the next couple of weeks whether our HLF bid has been successful, and if so we are especially going to need the help of our volunteers, both old and new. It will be a unique volunteering experience as it means having a hand in a major Heritage Lottery Fund project, which is going to change the face of MERL and how we do things. If the project goes ahead then we will have to close for building work, but during this period we are going to need many able hands to help move our objects around the Museum, erect dust protection, deconstruct the current displays, record where every object has been moved to, as well as ensure nothing has been missed or broken. Later in the project we will also need help putting all of the objects back, erect the new displays, research the collections and catalogue objects and archives which will be displayed in the new Museum. We also have a range of exciting new projects for which we really want your help both setting up and being involved in (more on these in a later update!).
In conclusion, we will need all the help we can get, and we are dedicated to helping our volunteers get what they want from us. We will be putting out a proper call for what we need nearer to when we close the Museum, but until then please keep checking in on the blog for more on what Our Country Lives will be about.