Volunteer at Brunel's SS Great Britain

Welcome to Brunel's SS Great Britain.

We have lots of exciting volunteering opportunities for those looking to gain experience, meet new people or just have fun!

To apply, please complete our application form using the link on the right hand side of the screen.

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Volunteer Roles

Visitor Experience Volunteer

Our Visitor Experience volunteers play a key role, welcoming visitors to Brunel’s SS Great Britain and helping them to get the most out of their visit.

We especially welcome volunteers who can support us at weekends, and for afternoon shifts. 

Here are some of the activities you might do as part of a VE shift:

• Engage with visitors across the site; in the Dry Dock, Dockyard Museum, on board the ship and in the Being Brunel Museum.

• Connect visitors to the history of the ship and the Dry Dock

• Sharing stories about passengers and crew who travelled on the ship; or prompting visitors to try out the bunk beds in steerage; or even steer the ship or operate the Lifting Frame.


Costumed Volunteer

Our Costumed Interpretation Volunteers wear period costume on board the ship and in our museums and help bring the SS Great Britain’s stories to life for our visitors.

The roles we have depend on what costume is available. This role also requires some research of the role and a regular weekly commitment if possible - full training will be given. 

Education volunteer

Our Education Assistant Volunteers support school visits in our hands-on workshops. These workshops have been designed to engage young people (mostly lower primary age) with the history of the ship using fun and interactive approaches and activities. As a volunteer you would enhance these workshops and support the workshop leaders by ensuring the children enjoy the workshops and their visits.

This is a term time only role, but can be carried out alongside a different volunteering role. We are especially in need of volunteer support on a Wednesday and in the afternoons. Please note we are closed to the public on Mondays in term time.

Library Volunteer

Our Library Volunteers are the public face of the Library and help to improve access to the Collection as well as ensuring visitors have an enjoyable experience.

Communities Volunteer


Purpose of the role:

Community Engagement Volunteers support activities and events with diverse groups around Bristol and at Brunel’s SS Great Britain.

Main Activities:

In this role you will work alongside staff, other volunteers and community partners at festivals, community spaces, clubs, youth groups and libraries to meet people from different backgrounds, help to deliver activities based on the stories of SS Great Britain, and find out about people’s interests and needs. You’ll also welcome community groups to SS Great Britain, and support activities around the dockyard, on the ship, in the library, museums and education spaces. You’ll engage both adults and children in fun and interactive ways using handling objects, crafts, games, trails and dressing up, encouraging participation and conversation. You’ll also assist in the practicalities of each event, including setting up and packing away. As part of the team, you will be invited to be join shared planning and evaluation with communities.


Musician volunteers further bring the experience on the ship to life. We would love for someone to play the piano (or another instrument from the period i.e. harpist) in the Promenade saloon.

Shift times are 11:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00, but we are happy for ad-hoc help too. 

Mission Statement

The SS Great Britain Trust is a dedicated education charity (No.262158) that cares for Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the national Brunel Collection within a 19th century dockyard complex in Bristol. It is Accredited as a museum, and its collections are Designated as of national importance by Arts Council England. It preserves the SS Great Britain and two related museums, and cares for the collections and library from the Brunel Institute, in a partnership with the University of Bristol. The Trust tells the stories of many people from history in order to enthuse people and help elucidate understanding of our past and our future. It has a particular focus on inspiring young people, using the legacy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, with contemporary science and engineering and helping them understand not only the world today but their own potential within it. As a registered charity the Trust raises funds, sells tickets, and operates a gift shop and catering outlets. All the funds raised are devoted solely to delivering the formal charitable objects of the Trust as legally required. 

You can find out more about our core values here: https://www.ssgreatbritain.org/about-us/