Volunteer Story: Dave

Volunteer Dave Brownlow at Weston Park Museum © Museums Sheffield

“This was perfect for us”

When my wife and I retired it was always an aspiration for us to carry out some volunteering duties. We explored various avenues, such as the hospital, charity shops etc., but these did not fit in with our lifestyle as they needed a weekly commitment which we couldn't fulfil. Three years ago we attended a volunteer event and discovered Museums Sheffield’s policy for volunteering. Basically, they could send out emails with possible opportunities, and you can either opt for them or not. This was perfect for us.

The roles we have undertaken for Museums Sheffield have been many and varied; I have assisted at museum sleepovers and children's activities, helped set up the Christmas shop, and carried our customer surveys. I get a lot out of volunteering: a sense of helping people, giving something back, and meeting and engaging people from all walks of life. 

A particular favourite volunteering role of mine is the customer surveys; the variety of people you meet from different parts of the country, and indeed the world, is surprising and enjoyable. Virtually all the visitors from outside Sheffield have very positive views on the museum and the city itself, which for me is fantastic to hear. The people of Sheffield are also interesting, regaling you with stories from how things used to be. There are also people who used to live in Sheffield and come back to visit. They are usually complimentary on improvements to the city and lots ask "is the polar bear still here?!”.

I’d also like to mention the museum staff. They are all friendly, supportive and helpful in any way if needed. They are very appreciative of the help you give them, which is great to hear from a volunteer’s perspective.

So if you are thinking about volunteering, I would heartily recommend it, I am certain you will enjoy it as much as I do.

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