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14 Feb 2020

Volunteering in Conservation Club 2020

Hello, my name is Titis and I am currently studying in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham. I began volunteering for the Conservation Club at Birmingham Museums in October 2016, and because I enjoyed the season, I decided to continue the following year. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to continue volunteering – I am now in my fourth season of the club.

At first, I was doubtful about my decision to join the club. First, I did not know if I could be consistent with my commitment, because I am also a full-time student. Second, as an international student, I did not have much knowledge about British history, and I worried that this would put me at a disadvantage. Third, I did not have experience of handling historical objects or conservation cleaning historical locations. However, my concerns were completely unfounded. The supervisors I work with are friendly, and I am not only gaining new knowledge and skills but also new friends. Read More...

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12 Feb 2020

Volunteering with the Image Library

Hi, I’m Jasmine and currently I am in my final year at the University of Birmingham studying Ancient History. At Birmingham Museums Trust I volunteer as an Image Library Assistant based at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

This volunteer role is important as there are a lot of images that need to be uploaded to the Digital Image Resource, and I aid in making the process of uploading quicker. I have only been in this role for a short period of time as I started in November, but already this role has been beneficial to understanding the workings of what goes on behind the scenes of the museum. My main project is the uploading of various images that depict artworks, pictures, costume and so much more from across all Birmingham Museums Trust sites. Read More...

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11 Feb 2020

Volunteering at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

My name is Adam, and I volunteer at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter as a Heritage Interpreter. I am studying Palaeontology at the University of Birmingham, and I wanted to get some experience in working in museums, so I applied and started volunteering in October 2019.

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter was originally a jewellery workshop owned by the Smith & Pepper manufacturing firm from 1899 to 1981. When the owners retired, they locked the doors and walked away, leaving everything behind exactly where it had been when it was still in business. This time capsule was then turned into a museum, opening in 1992. Read More...

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10 Feb 2020

Student Volunteering Week 2020

From the 10th – 16th February it is national Student Volunteering Week, the week of the year when we really celebrate all those fabulous members of our volunteer team who are also hard at work studying too.

To celebrate Student Volunteering Week each year we announce Birmingham Museums Trust’s Student Volunteer of the Year. I am delighted to say that the 2020 winner is Titis Widuri, who is in her fourth year of volunteering with us in the Conservation Club whilst also studying with the University of Birmingham in the International Development Department. We would like to say a huge thank you to Titis from all of us here at Birmingham Museums for your time, enthusiasm and passion for volunteering with us. We love hearing how much she is enjoying volunteering too: “I will be sharing my experience with my friends and my colleagues back in Indonesia, after I finish my studies. I would encourage anyone interested in history, or anyone just looking for a fun and rewarding experience, to apply and get involved with Birmingham Museums Trust.” Read More...

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29 Jan 2020

Volunteer Views: Start of 2020

I am very excited by the presence of the Breughel entitled Autumn, in Galleries 23/24 and I am fascinated by the detail. The animation of the human figures is a delight, and the plodding cattle have a convincing solidity. It all comes to life for me like a Disney film clip. I can hear the flapping wings of the geese and the squeals of pigs. There is someone high in a tree on the left picking apples, and probably throwing them too. The difference between the dark rectangle of wood found in the store and the completely restored piece is a glorious transformation. 

The whole back story is of course a treat, including the fortunate finding of an appropriate frame of size and correct period. I understand that the picture is possibly a collaboration of two artists, unnamed members of the Jan Breughel workshop. Perhaps the lead artist is actually Jan the Elder? The pale background landscape giving a view of a river, a sailing boat and mountains may be contributed by a contemporary colleague, according to the BBC Four programme and expert advice.  Read More...

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17 Dec 2019

Volunteer Views: Visitors to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Hello everybody. This is my third blog and with a slightly different theme it is devoted to the interesting things people say while I am volunteering at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

While volunteering, I came across a visitor speaking to a colleague because she couldn't find King Feisal. She was very anxious because she believed that he "had gone". I thought I would see what I could do to find him.  Read More...

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8 Nov 2019

Volunteers Create New Unicorn Trail

During October half term we launched a new trail at Aston Hall, a unicorn pincushion trail. This project was extra special because a team of volunteers spent months lovingly creating these beautiful objects for display.

Our volunteer Historic Needlework Group started this project in the spring of 2019, building on their last project which created amazing embroidered squirrel bunting for the Stable Yard Café at Aston Hall. This year they have again been meeting once a week in the Great Dining Room at Aston Hall to work on their unicorn pincushions and to share their skills with visitors. Read More...

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23 Oct 2019

Volunteer Selection: Corporation Street, Joseph E. Southall

Hello everyone, this is my second choice of artwork for my monthly blogs and another favourite.

I climb the steps from the Chamberlain Square entrance to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and breathless after 40 or more steps I am face to face with a fabulous fresco. It covers an area roughly 280 x 165 cms and is a long-arched rectangle. I read below the panel that this piece records “a lost time of peace, before the world was changed forever”. A sad record by Edward Southall who was a pacifist Quaker, starting this in 1914 and completing it in the winter of 1915-16. He was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement and leader of the Birmingham Group of Artists, having studied at the Birmingham School of Art (across the road from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery). Read More...

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27 Aug 2019

Volunteer Selection: Column on the March, Christopher R W Nevinson

Hello everyone, I have been volunteering at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) since January and I am keen to share some of my favourite pictures and objects on display. Watch this space for blog updates of my latest favourite artwork!

So here I go with number one… ‘Column on the March’ by Christopher R W Nevinson is in the Modern British Art Gallery at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It is almost completely monochrome, painted in blues from palest to almost black, and a few dabs of brown. Depicting World War One (WW1) it is devoid of any bright colour and seems to me to be a unique way of looking at warfare. Read More...

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11 Jun 2019

Volunteering Across Birmingham Museums Trust

Hello, my name is Stefanie and I have managed to volunteer at four different Birmingham Museums Trust (BMT) sites! My background is in archaeology, history, museum studies and teaching languages. I moved to Birmingham last year, so I am still quite new to the area. When I started volunteering at BMT earlier this year, everyone made me feel welcome and a part of this local community.

As a volunteer Learning Resource Assistant at Blakesley Hall, I volunteer once a week and am involved in lots of aspects of public programming: from cutting shapes in preparation for school visits to assisting the Learning Officer during workshops. But I also help to develop new ways to engage visitors – my current project is around the gardens at Blakesley Hall. Read More...