Winchester Museums need you!

Press Release: 24/02/2009

Winchester City Council’s museums service is expanding its volunteer programme after a successful first year.  Beginning last summer, ten volunteers were trained to help visitors explore and experience the history of Winchester and the district.  Following a steady stream of enquiries from local people, a second ‘wave’ of volunteers is now being invited to join the team.

Ahead of the main visitor season, Winchester Museums are calling for new applicants to put their names forward for the next phase of the programme. Successful applicants will be fully trained by professional museums staff to interact with visitors and share their knowledge of Winchester’s history with customers of all ages.

Winchester City Council’s museum services manager, Sher Kent, explained: “Our museum volunteers come from all walks of life and they add to the richness and interest of this important team.  Last year we saw how invaluable it was for students to have the experience of museum work for their CVs and university applications, and how our more experienced volunteers met new people and learned new things about the history of the district.  It is a chance to come and share your love of Winchester and also to learn more about the place where you live.”

One of the original cast of volunteers, Shiela Steele commented, “Part of the charm of the role is not only the history, but meeting new people.  I’ve met the most interesting people from all corners of the country volunteering at the museum.  It is wonderful sharing my enthusiasm for the Winchester district: I really love it!”

Winchester City Council is committed to encouraging more people to participate in cultural and sporting activities across the District, and the museums’ community programme is just one of a number of projects designed to support this objective. The museum volunteers are already such a strong  force within the museums service that they have been equipped with their own blog by the City Council to enable them to plan their shifts, swap tips and share experiences.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, Portfolio Holder for heritage, culture and sport, added: “It has been so rewarding to see our volunteers settle into their roles over the past year.  I cannot wait to see who will step forward to join them as we head into the busy and exciting high season this year. I am so pleased with this initiative from museums.  It’s a perfect contribution to our local Cultural Olympiad, in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

If you would like to volunteer to help at one of the City Council’s Museums, contact Sher Kent, Museum Services Manager, on tel: 01962 848 557, or email: skent@winchester.gov.uk for more details.