Volunteer Story: Jane

Volunteer Jane at the Millennium Gallery © Museums Sheffield

“I liked the idea of doing something totally different”

After retiring I knew I wanted get involved with some kind of volunteering but didn’t know exactly what. I saw Museums Sheffield’s stall at a volunteering fair, and I liked the idea of doing something totally different.

I started off doing visitor surveys, which involves asking people about their visit. Sometimes the survey leads to fascinating conversations, not necessarily related to museums! It’s extremely interesting as you meet people, not just from around the UK, but from different countries as well.

Shortly after, I trained to be a Friends’ Ambassador in the Millennium Gallery. I worked alongside another volunteer (who has since become a good friend) to inform people about the fantastic benefits of joining the ‘Friends of Museums Sheffield’. A few months ago, I began a new role-supporting Dementia Friendly Cafes in the Millennium Gallery, Weston Park Museum and with our friends in Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Kelham Island Museum. These cafes are very popular with dementia patients and their families/carers, who enjoy the chance to meet others over a cup of tea and a cake, as well as the chance to look at interesting artefacts from the museums. My role includes welcoming our guests, taking care of the refreshments (including making copious amounts of tea!) and having a chat with everyone, whenever possible. I really enjoy these monthly events and try to attend as many as possible as I feel it is very important for our guests to see familiar faces.

The most recent role I have undertaken is the Visitor Experience one at Weston Park: it involves supporting with anything that’s needed on the day, from Easter trails and  making finger puppets, to greeting the public and recruiting ‘Friends’.

There is so much to enjoy as a volunteer for Museums Sheffield. There are so many varied roles to choose from and I love being part of an organisation that I feel passionately about. Everything is extremely well organised by Ruth, who invites us for get-togethers and volunteer events on a regular basis. Needless to say, I have made lots of friends, which is a huge bonus!

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