Museums Partnership Reading (The MERL & Reading Museum)


We heart Volunteering

One of the major aims of the partnership between The Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL) and Reading Museum, is to offer volunteering opportunities to the local community to improve wellbeing, connect people to their personal histories and identities, and get to know more about Reading's rich cultural heritage.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation.

We want you to feel part of the team, to have fun, to meet new people and perhaps to gain experience in the workplace, while developing supplementary skills to enhance a CV.

 

You may wish to apply existing skills and knowledge in an area in which you are already comfortable.

 

Alternatively, you may wish to try something new, and develop new skills or simply give something back to your local community.

 

Whatever your reason for volunteering, we are thrilled you are considering joining our volunteer community who work across The MERL and Reading Museum.

 

Obviously with the Covid pandemic, things are a bit more complicated than they once were. But there will still be opportunities to get involved and be part of our volunteer family. And it doesn't mean that when the world is a little less strange, we won't welcome you back with open arms.

 

To apply to become one of our volunteers, grab yourself a cup of tea, and fill in the application form by following the 'I would like to volunteer' link on the right hand side of this page (or if you're on a smaller screen it will be below this message). 

 

Should you need support in filling in the form, give us an email, and we'll do what we can to help.

I would like to volunteer

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Ways you can volunteer with Museums Partnership Reading

Abbey Quarter Heritage Custodian

An outdoor role, helping to keep the Abbey Quarter interpretation signs clean and the area free of litter.

Abbey Quarter Tour Guide

An outdoor role, sharing stories about Reading's great and the good to pre-booked groups. Normally on a Saturday, unless by special arrangement.

Admin volunteer

Lovers of admin help our staff to analyse information for our many and varied reporting purposes!

The MERL

Archives Volunteer (MERL)

Helping to increase the public accessibility of a range of rural life publications and photography collections UMASCS Archives 

The MERL

Art Collections Research Volunteer (MERL)

Helping the University Art Collections Curatorial team to prepare for forthcoming exhibitions or research.

The MERL

Art Collections Research Volunteer (RM)

Unearthing the stories behind the artists and the works in the Reading Museum art collection, helping the Curator prepare for forthcoming exhibitions.

Better Impact Ambassador

You will share your IT experience and skills to help other volunteers who are less confident online to get the most from our volunteering platform.

Code Club Facilitator (MERL)

 

Be part of The MERL's Code Club, a nationwide network of volunteer-led clubs, inspiring young people to learn about coding in a fun and interactive way.

 

The MERL

 

Collections Cataloguing Volunteer (MERL)

Helping The MERL Curatorial team to catalogue objects in the rural life collections.

The MERL

Collections Cataloguing Volunteer (RM)

Helping the Reading Museum Curatorial team to catalogue a huge variety of objects in store at the off-site collections facility.

Collections Research Volunteer (MERL)

Helping The MERL Curatorial team to research into items in our rural life collection.

The MERL

Costumed Interpreter (RM)

Wearing a replica historic costume and talking to visitors at public events and tours can help people better understand famous Reading residents from various points in its fascinating history.

Digital Content Volunteer

Combine your love of storytelling, interest in history, all love of all new media to help us share those stories far and wide.

Events Volunteer

 

Find out more about being part of our Events Team, delivering a dynamic programme of fun, friendly and fabulous special events all year.

 

 

Friday Fledglings Volunteer (MERL)

                                                 

Volunteers help at our popular outdoor toddler sessions ‘Friday Fledglings’ .

 

The MERL 

Gardening Volunteer (MERL)

Our Wednesday Weeders help our community partners keep on top of the raised beds and vegetable patches that they have planted to tell part of the rural story on a particular theme.

The MERL

Group Visit Welcome Host (MERL)

Help us introduce our group visitors to our fascinating collection with an introduction to the galleries, and share personal stories of the objects that mean most to you.

The MERL 

Herb Garden Volunteer (RM)

Occasional meets to keep the Abbey Gatehouse garden looking neat and tidy

Ladybird Artwork Cataloguing Volunteer (MERL)

Supporting the Curatorial team to catalogue the wonderful collection of artwork that formed the Ladybird books

The MERL 

Learning & Engagement Volunteer (MERL)

Supporting the team to deliver fun and engaging sessions about rural life for all ages and abilities, including reminiscence work with younger or older people with dementia, and with school groups.

The MERL

Library & Special Collections Volunteer (MERL)

Helping to increase the public accessibility of a wide range of books, publications and ephemera held by the University of Reading

The MERL

MERL Players

Performing pre-rehearsed pieces to pre-booked groups, acting out stories based on individuals and incidents from rural history., e.g. the Captain Swing Riots

Mewes Knits (MERL)

Our knitting group meets every other Wednesday and contribute to knit or crochet projects that help tell a part of the rural story.

The MERL

Museum on Wheels Volunteer (RM)

Enthusing members of the public about the museum and collections while we're out and about at community settings and at stalls at large scale events

 

 

Object Handling Volunteer (MERL)

 

If you have always wanted to get your hands on museum objects, why not go beyond the cases and become an object handling volunteer!

 

The MERL

Outreach Talk Volunteer

Help us spread the word about our fantastic museums and collections, delivering pre-prepared Powerpoint presentations to community groups such as the U3A and Probus, at their meetings. 

Outreach volunteers

Photography Volunteer

Using your photography skills to help us share pictures of our fabulous events and activities, and of course the buildings and collections too.

Sewing Volunteer (RM)

Our sewing group meets once a month on a Tuesday and contribute to sewing projects that help tell a part of the history of Reading.

Virtual Reality Headset Facilitator (MERL)

A family enjoying the VR headset

Help visitors understand rural life in a lively and interesting way!

The MERL

Visitor Counter (RM)

An outdoor role, working in a pair to count the number of people who enter the Abbey ruins during a given period

Visitor Experience Researcher

Help us gather vital visitor feedback either on iPads or paper questionnaires

The MERL

Visitor Welcome Volunteer (MERL)

Help us enthuse visitors of all ages by becoming part of our welcome team!

The MERL

A volunteer helps a young visitor to interact with an exhibit

 

Visitor Welcome Volunteer (RM)

Help us enthuse visitors of all ages and encourage donations by becoming part of our welcome team!

Reading Museum

Wardrobe Assistant to Costumed Interpreters (RM)

Making running and permanent repairs to replica historic costumes, and general support to Costumed Interpreters including helping them to dress in their many layers ready for the public events.

Youth Panel Member

We love to hear regularly from our younger supporters to make sure that we are offering exhibitions and experiences that are of interest across the generations

Welcome to Museum Partnership Reading!

We heart Volunteering

One of the major aims of the partnership between The Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL) and Reading Museum, is to offer volunteering opportunities to the local community to improve wellbeing, connect people to their personal histories and identities, and get to know more about Reading's rich cultural heritage.