Heritage Volunteers



What is Heritage Volunteering?

Heritage Volunteers are members of The Arts Society who give their time to help preserve our heritage. They have commitment & enthusiasm, the ability to work as part of a team, and enjoy making friends!

And of course learning new skills and expertise----Heritage Volunteers receive relevant training from professional conservators, advisors and curators.
London Area and  Heritage Volunteers
Some examples  are:-
• conservation of books, manuscripts, archives and maps
• cataloguing documents and archival listing
• documentation of objects including listing and transcribing
• conservation of Metalwork. Cleaning and cataloguing arms and armour, medals and military silver
• preventative conservation of textiles. Replica work, creation of period costumes and methods of storage
• guiding - for all types of groups
• stewarding - in museums, historic houses or gardens
• gardens - research and recording

Sorry, but you will realise that these are all now on hold due to the current crisis. Maybe later in the year we can resume.

The Arts Society have many members volunteering in Heritage sites all over the country. In London we have some interesting opportunities listed below. Members should contact their Society Heritage Volunteer Reps or Rosalie Gowlland  (rosalie.gowlland@gmail.com ) if they are interested in becoming a Heritage Volunteer on behalf of the Arts Society and we will be able to give them further information - ie the contact details in any project on which they wish to work. Please do NOT attempt to contact the venue directly.

Benjamin Franklin House 36 Craven Street WC2N 5NF.  Front of House Volunteers required at this Grade 1 historic house – from running the Box Office to leading tours of the house for visitors. One day per week. Roles especially suited to those with strong interest in the public side of museums/heritage work.

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1 4 RL   Conway Hall’s library houses the Ethical Society’s collection of Humanist research material.  The work involves noting the condition of books, their cleaning and conservation. Book Conservation Training is needed.  There is a vacancy for an experienced book conservationist.

Design Museum, Commonwealth Institute, Kensington High Street, Kensington

The Design Museum has moved to new premises at the old Commonwealth Institute on High Street Kensington.  They are looking for volunteers for four different roles and training will be given for each one

     Welcomer-- A volunteer is needed to deliver excellent customer service, provide information and handouts, orientate people, and supervise an activity table. Be familiar with forthcoming            events/exhibitions and provide information on local facilities (tube, ATM machines, Boris bicycles etc.

    Library Volunteer---to help set up the new library and its procedures; assist the public, students and museum curators with their enquiries and research (this is not a lending library, ie the books    cannot be taken away but must be read in situ).An interest in contemporary design is desirable.

Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2IX  The main need is for room stewards/guides to look after visitors to Dickens London home. General stewarding plus some conservation roles will be needed in the future.

Emery Walker House, 7 Hammersmith Terrace, Chiswick   A fascinating terraced house overlooking the Thames, which was the home of Emery Walker  -  printer, collector and mentor to William Morris.  It will re-open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 20th April 2017 for special guided tours in groups of maximum 8 visitors. The tours will last one hour and are pre-booked. After an introductory talk you will accompany the visitors through all the main rooms in the house and (weather permitting), the garden, bringing to life the history of this unique house beside the Thames. Volunteers are urgently needed to act as tour guides and training will start soon.

Dorich House Museum, Kingston University, 67 Kingston Vale SW15 3RN   Volunteers needed for front of house / visitor assistance and stewarding roles. Hours and days are flexible. Volunteers will be joining others on a team.  All Volunteers help with Gallery Assistant duties and have the opportunity to be involved in a range of activities, including Front of House greeting visitors and manning the Museum shop, helping with public and private events, running Learning Activities, and tour guiding. Museum Volunteers play a vital role in keeping the collection and the Museum safe as well as sharing knowledge of the Museum and collection with visitors and improving the visitor experience. There will also be an opportunity to get involved in other ‘behind the scenes’ Museum activities including: assisting the Curator with research and archiving, assisting with museum marketing by using social media, updating the website and occasional leaflet distribution, helping with collections care and object cleaning.  

Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ  This museum tells the story of Britain’s first home for abandoned children. There are some vacancies for volunteers interested in either gallery stewarding or reception work.  The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am to 5.00pm and on a Sunday from 11.00am to 5.00pm but volunteer hours are flexible. There are current vacancies.

The Garden Museum, 5. Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB  St.Mary’s church houses a beautiful exhibition space which is home to the Garden Museum. This museum explores our relationship with, and the social history of gardens. This museum,  the first of its kind,  is looking for volunteers to help with front of house and in the shop.  Training will be given. Shifts are 10.00am to 2.00pm and /or 1.30pm to 5.30pm with breaks for refreshments.

Handel House Museum, 25 Brook Street, London W1K 4HB   Handel House is a small and beautiful museum in central London, largely staffed by a team of dedicated volunteers of all ages.  All volunteers help with gallery attendant duty and there are opportunities to become involved in a range of activities, including reception duty, shop assistant, assisting with events and weekly concerts, tour guiding and delivering Saturday Talks. The rota is flexible (one shift per week minimum), shifts are either 10.00am – 1.30pm or 1.30pm – 6.00pm (Tuesday to Saturday) or 12.00noon – 4.00pm or 2.00pm – 6.oopm (Sunday). 

Household Cavalry Museum, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX  This museum is located in a historic building adjoining the stables of the horse guards.  Volunteers wanted mainly for room stewardship.  Flexible arrangements for the rota

Lancelot Capability Brown – work at home     PROJECT ON HOLD   2016 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot Capability Brown ( usually just called  Capability Brown). There will be a Capability Brown Festival and we have been asked to provide researchers.  The job involves searching on-line for old maps of CB sites – they are all over the country.  Training will be given but this is a job which can be done at home with a computer in your own time but please keep a note of the hours that you do!

Leighton House –  Leighton House is looking for Room Guides.  Volunteers will provide a warm and friendly welcome to visitors and make sure no works are damaged. You can sit down whilst in the Museum and take breaks in the volunteer room where tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. Travel expenses can be reimbursed up to £6.00 per day. Guides are needed for every day except Tuesdays when it is closed to the public. Shifts are either in the morning from 10.00am to 1.30pm and /or the afternoon 1.30pm to 5.30pm, and you can arrange these with Leighton House to suit yourself. Training will be given.

Linley Sambourne House, 18 Stafford Terrace W8.   This house was the home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, his family and their servants.  This late Victorian family home is preserved almost entirely intact, giving a memorable insight into the lives of the Sambournes and the world in which they lived.  Volunteer Room guides are needed from 1.45 to 5.30 on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Room guides must keep an eye on all the contents of the room so as to ensure nothing is damaged or taken by any visitor, and can be seated in the room.  Guides may also swop rooms with other guides during the afternoon if they so wish.  Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided and travel expenses up to £6 per day can be claimed on receipt of a ticket. 

Museum of Army Music, The Royal Military School of Music, Knellar Hall, 2 Knellar Road, Twickenham TW2 7DN  Volunteers needed to catalogue the collection of photographs.  The museum has an extensive collection of historic photographs of military bands and occasions from the 19th century to the present day  

The National Archives, Kew, Richmond Surrey TW9 4DU   The National archives accept volunteers for specified jobs.  If you register as a volunteer your name will be kept on their mailing list, and you will receive all details of vacancies.

Old Royal Naval College, 2 Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich London SE10 9LW   The ORNC comprises Discover Greenwich (a small museum), Chapel and Painted Hall. They need volunteers to assist their Visitor Experience Team in providing a warm welcome and an informative visit.  Volunteers will carry out research, run object handling lessons, assist the Learning and Interpreting team in delivering learning programmes for adults and young learners. They will also provide behind the scenes office support and work on projects with the Marketing and Events Team. ORNC provides training for volunteers.  Hours are flexible, but volunteers must commit to 3.5 hours per week or 1 day a fortnight for a period of 3 months – this is on a rolling basis.

Osterley Park House, Jersey Road, Isleworth, London TW7 4RB   Osterley Park House is looking for room Guides.  Training will be given.  Flexible hours within 11.00am – 3.30pm

Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD  This club was founded as a forum for those interested in languages, cultures and the history of Asia.   Four volunteers needed to do archive work

Royal Institute of British Architecture, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD  ---British Architectural Library - The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection

Volunteers are required, ideally with architectural background or knowledge  (but those with an interest in architecture and/or photography will be welcome), have basic computer skills to sort, organise, list and catalogue photographic material once a week on a day to be agreed with Valeria. The most important requirements in the volunteers are accuracy and attention to detail.  The swipe card you will use to gain access to the library will also give you discounts in the RIBA cafes and bookshop, and access to the staff canteen.  

St Saviours Church, St George’s Square, Pimlico SW1  This church has been undergoing extensive repair and refurbishment recently. Volunteers are needed to clean and repair kneelers in the church.  This is a job which can be done at home or in a group in a room in the church.

Scots Guards Museum, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ  The Scots Guards Museum need help with digitising photographs from albums well annotated. This work would be done in the Museum on Birdcage Walk during working hours convenient to the volunteer between Monday and Thursday and  in agreement with the museum.  They also have a second project which could be done at home. This is to assemble a record of digitally of items of interest to the Scots Guards which are held in other Collections and archives eg the Imperial war Museum, National Army Museum, National Archives of Scotland etc. 

Sir John Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP   This compact and fascinating museum which was left to the nation by Sir John Soane, (1753 – 1837) requires room guides and stewards to work alongside experienced members of the museum staff assisting them with visitors. The rooms are filled with furniture, paintings, fragile models under glass domes, ceramics and other works of art, as a guide, you will help to bring the rooms alive for the visitors.  Training will be given. The museum is open all year round from Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am to 5.00pm.Schedule is very flexible, but please note the visitor route is narrow and there are stairs.

Strawberry Hill House, 268 Waldegrave Road, Twickenham, TW1 4ST   Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham began life as a modest house built by coachmen in 1698. It was developed into the finest example in Britain of Georgian Gothic Revival architecture and interior decoration by Horace Walpole – the son of Robert Walpole, England’s first Prime Minister. Strawberry Hill House is looking for room guides and help with front of house.  The house is open during the hours 10.00 to 6.00 from Monday to Wednesday and on some Sundays (last visitor entry 5.00). Visitors are encouraged to pre-book their visit. There are 2 shifts each of these days 10.00 to 2.15 and 2.00 to 6.00 each with a rest break. Induction training and on-going training will be given. Benefits include free anytime access for you, plus a 50% discount for anyone you bring with you, free tea and coffee. 10% discount in the cafe and also a discount in the shop.

Turners House, Sandycombe Lodge, 40 Sandycombe Road, Twickenham, Middlesex TW1 2LR  Front of house duties, eh meeting and greeting; Guiding around the rooms; manning reception desk

 University College London. UCL Library Services Gower Street WC1E 6BT  Four more volunteers are required to assist book preservation in the library and the archives. Monday to Friday, mornings and/or afternoons.

Westminster City Library Archives Centre 10 St. Ann’s Street, SW1P 2DE   Volunteers required from April/May 2016 to join other volunteers caring for books and paper repair. Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Flexible.

If you would like to know more  contact this e-mail  rosalie.gowlland@gmail.com  for information about London Area Heritage Volunteering or talk to your Society. 

Or look at the website www.theartssociety.org