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22 Feb 2018

Volunteering as an Engagement Assistant

My name is Rosie and I am part of the volunteer team here at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. I first started volunteering in the Story Lab Exhibition, ‘The Past is Now: Birmingham and the British Empire’, back in October 2017.

My role as a volunteer in this exhibition was to encourage visitors to engage with the exhibitions exploration of the British Empire through conversation and written feedback. This was an amazing opportunity to talk to visitors about their perspective of the colonial narrative typically used to present its history, and whether they believed the exhibition challenged that. I had no idea that I would be engaging with visitors with stories of their own, who were really able to connect with the objects and art on display, and learn so much from our discussions. Read More...

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21 Feb 2018

Volunteering in Conservation Club

My name is Tabassum and I am currently in my final year of studying Ancient History and Archaeology at University. I first volunteered with Birmingham Museums as a Summer Activities Assistant in 2017, but because I enjoyed working with the museum so much I later applied to be part of the Conservation Club.

I chose to volunteer with Birmingham Museums as I wanted to gain some volunteering experience before leaving university. Whilst I was volunteering as a Summer Activities Assistant - a one week volunteering role over the summer holidays - I was given the opportunity to set up and move around the items on the object handling display table, meant for visitors to engage with. This was significant to me, as I have always wanted to work in a museum as a curator, but there are not always a lot of opportunities available for students to work in this environment. The role also involved approaching visitors to come and see the display table. This helped to boost my confidence and my people skills. I began the week with very little confidence and I left with a lot more confidence! Read More...

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20 Feb 2018

Volunteering as a Curator’s Assistant (Natural Science)

Hi, my name is Kelly and I have been volunteering as a Curator’s Assistant (Natural Science) at the Museum Collection Centre with the Natural Science Curator, Lukas, since October 2017. Alongside volunteering, I am studying for my Masters in Museum Studies with the University of Leicester, working at Sarehole Mill as a Museum Enabler, as well as creating taxidermy birds in my spare time.

I have an innate love for nature and natural history, so this role is the perfect fit! We are currently working on the “Dippy on Tour” project, which will see Dippy, the diplodocus skeleton cast from the London Natural History Museum,  touring around the UK. Birmingham is the second stop on the tour, and the exhibition will open in the Gas Hall in May 2018 and demonstrate how modern birds are the living relatives of dinosaurs, using a range of objects from the bird collection. Read More...

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19 Feb 2018

Student Volunteering Week 2018

It is that time of year again… National Student Volunteering Week! This is the week when we really celebrate all of our brilliant volunteer team members who are also busy studying whilst they support us.

To celebrate Student Volunteer Week we are announcing Birmingham Museums Student Volunteer of the Year for 2018. This year’s winner has volunteered with us for over a year and has really supported our Portable Antiquities Scheme by volunteering as an Archaeological Finds Recording Assistant. So congratulations to Aimee Hinds and a huge thank you from Birmingham Museums for all your time, effort and dedication to volunteering with us. We especially love this photograph of Aimee getting into character on a visit to another museum, definitely sums up her love of history! Read More...

Allan
7 Jun 2017

Volunteering at Sarehole Mill

Hi I’m Allan. I have been a volunteer Miller at Sarehole Mill since early 2013. I was initially inspired to become a volunteer at the Mill when I attended a local forum where a talk was being given by a member of staff from the Mill on the restoration program that was currently in progress. It was stated that they were looking for volunteers to be trained as Millers, to be ready for the opening on Easter Sunday 2013. Having now retired from work, and having a keen interest in baking bread, the idea of being able to mill my own flour was too good an opportunity to miss. So here I am a fully trained veteran in the world of corn milling!

As a Miller, my role is to get the machinery ready for milling. Put the grain into the hopper above the millstones, open up the penstocks to allow the water from the millpond to flow onto the waterwheel, and start the milling process. During milling, the grain feed, and the gap between the stones has to be constantly monitored and amended accordingly, to ensure fine flour is produced. Read More...

Claire%20crop
5 Jun 2017

Volunteering with the Curators

Hi, I’m Claire and I have been volunteering for Birmingham Museums for close to three years in various ways; at Weoley Castle, Blakesley Hall and perhaps the most intriguing of which is as a Curator’s Assistant to the History Curator working with the Sound Archive at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Read More...

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3 Jun 2017

Volunteering at Thinktank

Hi, I’m Sajida and I've been volunteering at Thinktank for around six months now. I began volunteering as an Exhibition Interpreter with the start of the exhibition ‘Mechanical Things’ which showcased machines from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as well as the car itself! The exhibition also displayed other mechanical machines of Rowland Emett, the man who created the inventions for the movie. I really enjoyed volunteering for this exhibition and met some amazing people along the way. When the exhibition ended at the beginning of March, I decided to continue my volunteering at Thinktank as a Heritage Interpreter.

Read More...

Volunteers
1 Jun 2017

Happy Volunteers Week 2017!

From the 1st June to the 7th June it is National Volunteers’ Week; that time of the year when we really celebrate the wonderful work of all our volunteers and say a massive thank you for their time and dedication.

Our team get up to all sorts of fun things from working behind the scenes with our collections to gardening and from engaging visitors at our sites to supporting new projects and we wanted to get some of them to tell you all about it! So this week we have three new blogs coming up meaning you can hear from Sajida about volunteering at Thinktank, learn about Allan’s experience volunteering as a Miller at Sarehole Mill and discover what it’s like volunteering with our Curator’s from Claire. Read More...

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23 Feb 2017

Volunteering with Ignite Take Two

Howdy y’all, Becky here! I’ve been part of Birmingham Museums’ Youth Forum Ignite for over a year, and I’ve got up to some pretty amazing things during that time. Here are my top four events which are sure to delight & astonish.

In at number 4 is…Film making For our film project, we chose an object worthy of screen time. My group settled on the statue of Lucifer by Epstein; it is such an interesting piece. For example, did you know that the statue is comprised of a male body and female head? It creates a very ethereal feel to Lucifer, and captured our imagination. So, our film would focus on Lucifer, but what else? This was a question we pondered for an age (about ten minutes), until suddenly, like a spark of inspiration, it hit us! (Not literally of course) We used lines from Milton’s Paradise Lost, as Epstein was inspired by the epic poem. A few members of the unsuspecting, but terribly obliging, public were interviewed and they all loved Lucifer, as do I! Read More...

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22 Feb 2017

Volunteering at Weoley Castle

Last September, I arrived in England from Southern California to pursue a Master’s degree in Medieval History at the University of Birmingham, a choice which most of my family and friends viewed as slightly insane. Well before I actually arrived here (about two years ago) I began looking into volunteering opportunities with the Birmingham Museums Trust, as my ultimate goal is a career in the heritage sector. So when I got an email about a role in Conservation Club role, I immediately responded, and arranged to meet with Becky, the Volunteer Development Team Leader. In the course of our chat she brought to my attention the Castle Keepers group at Weoley Castle, and suggested that it might be an even better fit for me. As it turns out, it’s been a much better fit than I think either of us realized at the time!

As a member of the Castle Keepers, I get to touch Medieval history in a way that I would never have been able to back in California. Although Weoley Castle is a ruin, there is still so much fascinating information to be gained from the site. It came as a surprise to me, not being a particularly outdoors-y person, how immensely satisfying it is to simply remove the omnipresent moss from the stones of the castle and preserve the stones for years to come. Read More...