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3 Jun 2020

Volunteers Week 2020:
Birmingham Museums Trust joins hundreds of organisations to say ‘thank you’ to volunteers

Birmingham Museums Trust is joining hundreds of organisations to recognise the vital role that volunteers play, as part of a united response for Volunteers’ Week 2020. This week Volunteer Managers across the UK are coming together to say a massive thank you to all volunteers. 

Over recent weeks, Birmingham Museums has been staying in touch with hundreds of dedicated volunteers who support the Trust in a range of ways, from assisting with family activities at Aston Hall, supporting conservation work at the Museum Collection Centre, and helping curators at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Despite the doors to the sites currently being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers will go on to play a role in helping the nation and Birmingham Museums slowly get back to normal.

By joining forces with other organisations in Volunteers’ Week 2020, Birmingham Museums is aiming to increase visibility of the vital support that volunteers provide, such as Deschanel who volunteers with the Conservation Club across the Trust’s historic properties.

Deschanel was inspired to volunteer when he heard about the Don’t Settle Project run by Beatfreeks taking place at Soho House. Having never been involved in the museum and heritage sector before he was keen to find out more.

Deschanel said: “My first experience volunteering within the museum and heritage sector was in a curatorial role on Beatfreeks' brilliant 'Don't Settle' programme. It brought me together with like-minded people who wanted to challenge the norms of art and heritage spaces, by creating art that focused on neglected stories within the Birmingham community.

“The Beatfreeks programme influenced my decision to join Birmingham Museums Trust’s volunteer Conservation Club, who I currently volunteer for. I'm really enjoying this experience because I get a chance to learn about the role of a conservator, and how they preserve and care for museum collections and the historic properties of Birmingham.”

Mariel, who volunteers with the Works on Paper Team at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, was inspired to volunteer when she came upon the opportunity advertised online. 

Mariel said: “Working in a museum setting is a whole new experience for me. As volunteers we support the data tidying of records for the collections database. We have also been taught how to inventory thousands of objects ranging from sketches and paintings to etchings and woodblocks, some of which are the works of famous artists like Rossetti and Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

“This volunteering experience has helped me discover new skills and improve the ones I already have. It has given me a new perspective on museums and a deeper appreciation of the arts. I’m always excited to come in and learn new things from the staff and volunteers I work with.”

Becky Benson, Volunteer Manager at Birmingham Museums Trust, will be celebrating volunteers from across the Trust on social media throughout the week.

Becky said: “Each year at Birmingham Museums Trust we are supported by an amazing team of volunteers. They help us to welcome visitors to our nine unique museums and historic properties and to care for our collections, our buildings and our outdoor spaces too.
“This year is a little different as we can’t be together in person, but for us it is even more important than ever that this week we thank our volunteer team and acknowledge all the work they have done over the last year to support us, and the work they continue to do to help for us from home during this time.”

Find out more about how Birmingham Museums is celebrating Volunteers’ Week 2020 here

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