I'm Emily, I'm working towards a degree in History, and I volunteer with Birmingham Museums as a member of the Conservation Club. As a history student, I had been looking for a volunteering role in the heritage sector for some time, and so was very keen to join the Conservation Club and have the opportunity to visit so many wonderful sites and contribute to their upkeep.
The role is only one day a week, sometimes once a fortnight, which fits in well with my university schedule. So far I have learnt a great deal. Before starting in the role, training was provided in order to acquaint myself and the rest of the team with the procedures we should follow when working on the sites. I had expected to learn about the proper way to use the vacuum cleaners and cleaning brushes, but I wasn't expecting to be told about all the different types of insect that we could potentially find! It is this and other pieces of information I wouldn't otherwise have learnt that has made this role so interesting and enjoyable.
I have visited and helped to clean a number of properties during my role. The site that stands out most in my mind is the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. The property has remained largely unchanged since the early 20th century, and tells the story of jewellery production in Birmingham over the last 200 years. It was a unique experience cleaning the machines and objects housed in the museum I wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to touch. It is only through Conservation Club that I have had the privilege of visiting so many wonderful sites, and going behind the scenes.
If I could say anything to students considering applying for this, or any volunteering role with Birmingham Museums, it’s don’t be anxious about working with people you have never met before. Part of what has made the role so enjoyable is working with such an experienced, supportive and friendly team of people. The staff who work with the Conservation Club are always willing to answer questions. I have had such a fantastic experience and would fully recommend volunteering to anyone who has an interested in history and heritage!
If you are interested in volunteering for Birmingham Museums then take a look at the current volunteering opportunities we have available across all our sites.