Grateful thanks on International Volunteer Day
Today, 5 December, is International Volunteer Day. We want to take this opportunity to thank you, our volunteers, for your continued dedication and commitment to Saffron Walden Museum, without which we could not operate.
We now have over 65 volunteers, who give thousands of hours of their time, in a number of different roles such as running the welcome desk, sorting and cataloguing archaeology and natural sciences specimens at the museum store and museum, cataloguing and auditing the Museum’s photograph, document and art collections, helping to run the popular learning and activity events during school holidays and contributing expertise and ideas for developing our wildlife garden and monitoring roadside verge nature reserves.
2019 New initiatives
We are grateful to all our volunteers who have helped with a number of exciting new initiatives including:
Wildlife at Night
Wildlife at Night built on our usual Museums at Night event. Volunteers played crucial roles in us putting on this evening event on Friday 17th May. They helped out serving refreshments, putting on craft activities, supported staff and organisations who were providing the wildlife activities and even donated plants!
12th Century Live! & Princess Bride Cinema screening
600 people attended the Museum site over the weekend of the 1st and 2nd June for these two new events. Thank you to everyone who took part in organising them and came along to help.
Volunteer Voices Display
To celebrate National Volunteers Week in June: Jenny, Wendy-Jo and June compiled a display about the vital role which you, the volunteers, play in the running of the Museum. The aim was to make the display fun and interactive for visitors too. There was an interactive activity putting together cogs, to show how the volunteers are crucial cogs in our organisation, enabling it to operate smoothly and efficiently. June recorded a talking tile to explain her role as a volunteer at the Museum which the visitors could press and listen to. Visitors could also apply to become one of our new volunteers and also record their feedback about being a volunteer at the Museum or for other organisations. There was also an activity which had all the museum’s different volunteer roles and the visitors had to match them to the correct volunteer tasks. This really showed the broad range of tasks that our volunteers undertake. The display complimented the Volunteer Tea Party organised by Wendy-Jo on Monday 17th June.
Volunteer Tea Party
Thank you to all the volunteers who came along to our volunteer week celebration at the Museum on Monday 17th June. James conducted Nature Studies exercises in the wildlife garden and Carolyn led a session about the NLHF Resilience Project and audience development.
Saffron Walden Museum has once again been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for consistently impressing visitors.
The museum was presented with the certificate based on a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on the travel and tourism review website. It is the fifth time the museum has received the award.
Reviews posted on the website have been very positive, with customers describing the museum as “interesting and informative”, “brilliant” and a “great discovery”.
One visitor said: “This is one of the best – probably the best – small town museums I’ve visited. It’s not just for kids, and has a remarkable range of artefacts and exhibits – even including Egyptian items, which one doesn’t associate with Saffron Walden. It is lovingly curated and a really delightful experience.”
Another posted: “Brilliant place to visit, especially for children. The staff and volunteers are very attentive and extremely helpful. The site is also extremely educational.”
Carolyn Wingfield, said: “The website is an established measure of customer satisfaction and the comments that have been made reflect the hard work the team and volunteers put in to providing a friendly and welcoming experience for visitors.”
We extend a warm welcome to our new volunteers:
Welcome Desk – Sue Donelan, Jane Hook, Christine Lelliott, Brenda Prior and Ann Sadaghiani.
Human History collections – Lillie Weston
Wildlife Garden – Issa Cochran
Natural Science collections – Dominic Davey and Calli Holberry
We bid a fond farewell to:
Jean Peat who has retired from her Welcome Desk duties
Bridie Heath, who joined us as a Welcome Desk Volunteer for the summer period, prior to taking up permanent employment.
Sean Todd who has now left us to return to the University of Warwick to continue studying politics.
Charles Welham who has now left to pursue employment and further study opportunities
Our Welcome Desk is run entirely by dedicated volunteers. They provide a friendly welcome for visitors, sell tickets and merchandise, provide information about the museum, and direct enquiries to members of staff. They usually volunteer for a 2.5 hour shift, every day except Monday and Saturday. We are currently looking for new Welcome Desk volunteers – if you are interested, please contact the Museum on 01799 510333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2020 will see the introduction of a till and card payment facilities on the Welcome Desk and the opening of our new exhibitions, All Fired Up, an exhibition by Essex Fire Museum exploring the history of fire-fighting in Essex (4 April – 5 July 2020) and STE(A)M 2020 – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths explored through our collections for 2020, Year of Science and Creativity across Essex.