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Heritage Volunteers

The Arts Society Heritage Volunteers help to conserve our heritage by working with a variety of different museums, libraries, historic houses and gardens, large and small. Volunteers contribute in non-specialist but vital ways by caring for collections, recording documents, guiding and stewarding, helping to maintain accessibility for all. Appropriate training is given by professionals.

Arts Society Highgate volunteers are currently working on book conservation in major national museums - Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery - as well as smaller institutions such as The Royal Society of Medicine and Quaker House. Others are involved in stewarding and interpretation both at permanent collections such as that of the Household Cavalry Museum and for temporary exhibitions at Lambeth Palace and recently Two Temple Place.

Becoming a Heritage Volunteer offers the opportunity to learn new skills, have direct access to historic items, and to join a friendly group of like-minded people working alongside dedicated professionals. It is both a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Recent new opportunities include:

 Design Museum, Commonwealth Institute, Kensington High Street, Kensington

The Design Museum has just opened in its new premises. They are looking for volunteers for four different roles:  Welcomer, delivering excellent customer service;  Guide, leading guided tours of the Museum;  Library Volunteer assisting with Library work; and Family activity Volunteer.  Training will be given for each one.

Handel House Museum, now Handel and Hendrix in London, 25 Brook Street, London W1K 4HB

Handel House is a small and beautiful museum in central London.  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.

 Linley Sambourne House, 18 Stafford Terrace W8.

This house was the home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, his family and their servants.  Their 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.

 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. As a guide, you will help to bring the rooms alive for the visitors.  Training will be given.

 Royal Institute of British Architecture, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

British Architectural Library - The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection

Volunteers are required, ideally with a strong interest in or knowledge of architecture, and basic computer skills, to sort, organise, list and catalogue photographic material. You will have access to the library and staff canteen and receive discounts in the RIBA cafes and bookshop.

 The Wiener Holocaust Library, Russell Square The Wiener Holocaust Library in Russell Square is looking for 5 volunteers to help to prepare documents in their 20th Century archive for digitisation. There will be an Open Day on Tuesday, 10th March at the Library for all those interested in working on this project - there is only space for 10 volunteers on the Open Day so please advise your members to book their place on the Open Day as soon possible! The library would like the project to take place on a Tuesday, working from 10.30 to 1.00pm Training will be given by the Head of Collections. This library is situated in a beautiful, light and airy Georgian building close to Russell Square underground station and volunteers working on this project will have free access to talks, films and conferences plus tea, coffee and biscuits at the library. Would all those interested in coming on the Open Day and in working on this project please contact me at either rosalie.gowlland@gmail.com or telephone me on 01380 859186 giving me your telephone number and email address.

Course at The Royal School of Needlework A follow up course has been arranged at the Royal School of Needlework for Heritage Volunteers from the Greater London Area so we can increase our skills in textile conservation. The course will take place at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace on 2 separate days - Thursday, 4th June and Thursday, 11th June. This is a two day course so you should be able to come for both days. The course content depends on how many people who came on the previous course come on this one so it will be decided nearer June. If you are a stitcher and are interested, please do sign up. The cost will be £50 per person with the Arts Society paying the balance of the fee. If you would like to attend this course, this is done by paying the £50 (I shall give you details on how to do this later). Please contact me on either rosalie.gowlland@gmail.com or telephone me on 01380 859186 to book one of the twelve places

For these and information on many other projects please contact Monica Leighton Heritage Volunteer Coordinator, on monicaleighton19highgate@gmail.com