Volunteer blog – Tom Bartlett
Monday 18th February – Friday 22nd February 2013
Volunteering at Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery has provided me with an insightful experience as to how the Museum functions day to day. My aim is to gain a broad range of valuable experiences via my volunteer placement and the Museum were more than happy to formulate a timetable of specific tasks to suit my needs.
I currently work full time as a creative arts technician within an educational setting and my ambition is to work as a Museum and Art Gallery professional. Initially, during the half term and school holidays, I had decided to make use of my downtime productively by volunteering. I had contacted the Museum and formally completed my application to volunteer. The Museum staff members are very welcoming and a very close knit team and we met informally to discuss tasks that I could become involved in during my week placement with them.
During my time volunteering with the Museum I have worked on many various projects conducting research for several different exhibitions. The Collections Officer, Janine had given me in house training to use the Museum’s electronic database of objects (VERNON) and relevant research files in store. Working closely with the Exhibitions Officer, Jen, we discussed the themes for forthcoming shows and initial key topics of interest in which to start researching. From that standpoint, after I had exhausted the files in store I continued to take notes from the local library to support what I had found. I also shadowed Jen whilst working with the graphics team to finalise the ‘What’s On’ guide which gave me a good understanding of marketing and publications. Not only has it been very interesting to learn about the various topics of local interest, I have also gained valuable knowledge talking to the Museum professionals about the grounding functionality of a Museum and it’s core mechanisms.
During my voluntary placement at the Museum, the Outreach Officer, Matt, supervised me during the week and he also presented me with the opportunity to be included on the Museum Advisory Group (MAG) meeting. This was great to see how the Museum works with the wider community and addresses topics to do with the Museum, its visitors, partnerships and staff.
The hands on approach of the Museum enabled me to get involved with fun school activities with families and their children whilst creating exhibition specific artwork. I supported other Museum staff and families to create a Kukri knife in response to the temporary showing of the Ghurkha Exhibition and case located on the landing gallery and activities room.
I’ve really enjoyed my time working at the Museum and I have already agreed to volunteer during the Easter and summer holidays. I would certainly encourage anyone who’s interested in either staring a career in Museums or would like to develop their experience working in the cultural/heritage sector to get involved with Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery.