Volunteer stories

 

We asked volunteers to share an object they consider significant to their volunteering in order to illustrate their different motivations, experiences, interests, and backgrounds. Here are just a few of the summaries they wrote...

 

 
 
 

Your name: Lynn

Your chosen object: Short-necked plesiosaur

The museum the object is in: Museum of Natural History

What connection the object has to your volunteering: My first session of volunteering for Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) was gathering feedback from museum visitors about the splendid new display, ‘Out of the Deep’, which includes this big, fossilised vertebrate that lived in the sea during the Jurassic period.

Why you’ve chosen the object: I can imagine it swimming over my garden… we regularly turn up fossilised lumps of Jurassic coral and oysters, and I am very happy with the idea that this pliosaur (which was found in Yarnton) would have swum in the same sea.

They have an unfamiliar way of swimming that is shown on the display video, with four large flippers.

 

pliosaur model

1800full 18 0 raphael new

Your name: Beth

Your chosen object: Raphael Drawing, Studies of Two Apostles

The museum the object is in: Ashmolean Museum

What connection the object has to your volunteering: I was one of the ‘Artist of the Day’ volunteers for the Raphael: The Drawings exhibition (June - September 2017), drawing objects on display in a gallery, and encouraging visitors to try their hand at drawing too.

Why you’ve chosen the object: As an artist I love all aspects of art, but am particularly passionate about drawing. Raphael is a particular favourite of mine and the Ashmolean has a large collection of his work.

I especially liked seeing how his work developed over his short lifetime, and having the opportunity to see drawings from other museums.

This particular drawing is outstanding and inspiring to me!

 


Your name: Rawan

Your chosen object: This object is the upper part of the astrolabe called the Rete (sometimes called spider webs).

The museum the object is in: Museum of the History of Science

What connection the object has to your volunteering: The country of origin is Syria where my hometown is and this is one of the reasons choosing this object to be my first work at the Museum of the History of Science.

Why you’ve chosen the object: I was surprised when I saw the Arabic writing engraving on the object, which I could read as it is my mother tongue.

The object helped me to understand the evolution of human ideas in the field of astronomy and gave me the motivation to search for information on Islamic objects in this museum.

Image on the right: Sketch by Rawan

multaka astrolabe new

mandolin new

Your name: Lizzy

Your chosen object: Arthur A Kennedy's mandolin

The museum the object is in: Pitt Rivers

What connection the object has to your volunteering: I was first told about it by Caroline when I began volunteering as a tour guide at the Pitt Rivers and subsequently included it on my First World War tour.

Why you’ve chosen the object: I find the story behind this instrument and the issues it raises about war, fighting, and hope in horrific circumstances very moving.

I think the fact that it belonged to someone who lived locally and who personally donated it to the museum also touched me. And I love the 'secret' scrap of newspaper that's been pasted inside it and can only be seen with a torch positioned just so.


Your name: Jem

Your chosen object: Little Owl (taxidermy handling object)

The museum the object is in: Museum of Natural History

What connection the object has to your volunteering: The object was part of an Arts Award for blind and partially sighted children, which I volunteered for.

Why you’ve chosen the object: It’s my favourite because I remember all the kids loving how soft its feathers were (an opinion that I shared).

It’s a lovely object, and I have to admit to trying to find ways to sneak in a pat or two during breaks and pack-up!
 

Jem volunteered for a session run by Susan Griffiths (Community Engagement Service), in which a visually impaired artist helped children make memory boxes based on different textures they felt around the museum.

little owl