3 Jun 2018

Volunteering at Aston Hall 2018

Hi, I’m Gayle and I have been a volunteer Heritage Interpreter at Aston Hall since April 2014. I was very proud to receive my three year service award last Christmas.

Gayle with award

I first started visiting Aston Hall as a child in the early 1960’s and have never tired of being involved with it. Having always loved history, I feel passionate about maintaining our heritage for future generations. I enjoy taking visitors around the Hall and explaining the history - especially this year as it is our 400th anniversary. I am always happy to show off our State Rooms and to see everyone’s reactions when we reach the Long Gallery – it always has the ‘wow’ factor. So many influential people have been associated here including Sir Thomas Holte, Charles I, James Watt Junior and Queen Victoria to name but a few.

My role at Aston Hall can vary so much and I enjoy that flexibility. I can be taking a tour, organising our Costume Room, doing research for future tours, even a TV interview or helping with some of our fabulous events.

One role that has developed for me in particular is the Pop-Up Still Room. I researched what might have been here in the gardens at Aston Hall 400 years ago, in particular the herb garden. I was keen to find out more about the role of the lady of the house and the medicinal uses of those herbs. I was surprised to discover that so many of the herbs used at that time are still relevant today. Our visitors have always shown a great interest in the Still Room and it’s an opportunity to let people handle the herbs and hear what they were used for and the associated superstitions.

Gayle and Still Room

This year I was lucky enough to be allocated a small area of garden. The location in the North Courtyard is perfect as it is situated at the Visitor Reception, just outside the tea room and gift shop. Since April I have been busy planting up a Heritage Herb Garden and have had so much support from the Aston Hall team, the Museum Enablers and other volunteers. It has already proved to be a great success with visitors and it’s a perfect opportunity to engage with them and to promote the Hall.

Gayle and Herb Garden 1

Gayle and Herb Garden 2

Would I recommend volunteering with Birmingham Museums Trust? Absolutely! It is the best thing I have ever done. I have gained so much knowledge and confidence and met some amazing people along the way. We have a fantastic team at Aston Hall – all ages and backgrounds. Above all else we have a common passion to keep this beautiful building open to the public for as long as we possibly can.

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.