How Long have you been involved in volunteering at the Museum?
I’ve volunteered at the RAF museum London since March 2018.
How/ Why did you first get involved with the Handling Collection role?
I had already carried out some volunteering locally with the University of Reading and wanted to get involved elsewhere. I looked online and saw there were volunteer opportunities at the RAF Museum. Thought it would be a good fit seeing as Grandfather was a medic in the RAF in the 1960s.
Could you describe what a standard day as a Handling Collection volunteer looks like?
Typically, I volunteer from around 9.30am til 3.30pm. First of all I unload the handling collection from their boxes and make sure that it’s prepared for the Sessions run by the Access and Learning team. This includes laying out the objects on show and preparing the uniforms to be worn. I would do this for both scheduled sessions and Access and Learning events. During the sessions I would then also occasionally collect donations on behalf of the Museum (first signed by the Access and Learning Officer, Vernon Creek).
Is there any particular projects you worked in the role?
I helped the Access and Learning team re-catalogue the handling collection. It took about six months and involved me re-labelling boxes with the new numbers. Then writing up an inventory for them so staff would be able to access it more easily. I also helped with the uniforms and cataloging donations and putting on new labels and entering new information about them on an Excel spreadsheet.
What’s some of the best things about carrying out the role?
I enjoy taking donations as it gives me a chance to meet with and talk to people who are always incredibly pleasant and nice. The whole role is different from what you normally get in other Museums. In the past I worked more with kids, not very much behind the scenes. Whereas in this role I get much more of an insight in what working back of house at a Museum is actually like.
What would you say to someone interested in the role?
Come with an open mind! You never know what might come up. Make yourself flexible and in a position to learn and ready to read up on things which could be essential to the next session.