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.

 

To apply to be one of our volunteers, get yourself a cuppa 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).

 

You can browse a complete list of all roles performed by existing Museums Partnership Reading volunteers. Feel free to tick a few that interest you, so that we can let you know in future if a vacancy arises for that role. 

 

When we have a vacancy for a role, it will say *Now recruiting* next to the title of the role.

 

Please give us as much relevant information as you like, including: how you feel you meet the requirements of the volunteering role, and how you would like to help.  On some occasions more volunteers apply for the role than we have opportunity for in the rota. The more we know about you and what you are interested in, the easier it is for us to match you.  You are welcome to attach your CV if you wish.

Remember to indicate in the Availability section if specific days of the week or time of day work best around your other commitments

As soon as you are registered, you'll join the waiting list.

When you are happy with your application, please don’t forget to click SUBMIT – otherwise we will never receive the form!

As soon as we are recruiting to that role, we will get in touch with our matches and invite them to an informal interview. This can be over Zoom/ Teams, or in person according to your preference.

If you need any help with the application process, please email VolunteerHQ@reading.ac.uk and we will do our best to help. 

 

Thank you. 

*We are lucky enough to receive a high volume of volunteer applications. We will get in touch as soon as we are actively recruiting to a vacancy that matches the information on your form. Sometimes there may be a wait of some months before we can match you to a role, but please be assured we work as fast as we can to give as many people as possible the opportunity to join our volunteer family. We hope you agree it is worth the wait!* 

Data collection and processing is in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016, and the Data Protection Act 2018, and in line with our Privacy Policy.

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Ways volunteers get involved - Current Vacancies are highlighted by *Now Recruiting*

*Now Recruiting -Visitor Experience Researcher (MERL)*

Volunteer Role: Visitor Experience Researcher 

Location: The Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL), Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX  

 

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Why we want you 
You will help visitors complete 5 minute surveys on behalf of the museum on iPads. 
 
The feedback that you will gather will help the wider team continue to improve the visitor experience, and will be used in reports to key funding bodies, from the University of Reading to Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 
 
You will receive full training and a comprehensive introduction to the Museum, its services and facilities. 

 

What you will be doing 

  • Greeting all museum visitors and researchers using the library and archives, in a welcoming and friendly manner 

  • Approaching visitors to ask them about their experience at The MERL 

  • Summarise any feedback that requires immediate action and report it to a member of staff to help us continue to improve the visitor experience  

 

This role will suit you if you are 

  • Confident and keen to approach and engage with visitorsof all ages 

  • Enthusiastic and polite  

  • Self-motivated and pro-active  

  • A good communicator  

  • Able to work as part of a team  

 
  • What you will gain in return
  • An opportunity to learn about visitor motivations in a heritage environment 

  • The opportunity to assist and communicate with a friendly, diverse audience  

  • Build your customer care, service and communication skills 

  • Being part of a team and developing new contacts 

 

How much time will it take up? 

You can choose from our suggested shift times of 11am-2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.


This role is available on a rota, and you may like to sign up to volunteer once a week.

This can be flexible, as volunteers will help throughout the month.

You are welcome to take a break to eat lunch

 

Who does the role report to?

Angela Brown - Retail & Visitor Services Supervisor

angela.brown@reading.ac.uk

 

To apply

Please complete your volunteer registration form here on our volunteering platform.

 

If you are using a mobile or tablet, once you click ‘Fill in an Application’, look out for the suggestion ‘It looks like you are on a mobile device. For a better experience on smart phones, go to Mobile Application Form’ and click on the link it suggests.

 

*Please ensure you tick ‘MERL Visitor Experience Researcher’ in your ‘Interests’ section under My profile, when registering. 

 

Matching to the role

If we think you are a match for this role, we will invite you to a 30-minute informal interview with a member of the team and Sheila Fisher (Museum Partnership Reading Volunteer Coordinator) via Zoom, where you can have an opportunity to tell us about your interests and experience, and ask us some questions.

*Now Recruiting - Visitor Welcome Volunteer (MERL)*

MERL Visitor Welcome Volunteer

Supporting the Front of House team in the Visitor Welcome area
Location: The Museum of English Rural Life 

Why we want you 

  • You will help our Front of House team to provide an exceptional welcome to visitors 
  • You will help support the smooth operation of the front of house area
  • You will receive full training 

What you will be doing 

  • A person sitting at a tableDescription automatically generatedGreeting all pre-booked museum visitors, and researchers using the library and archives, in a welcoming and friendly manner 
  • Helping to inform visitors of any relevant social distancing measures and the ways in which we help keep everybody safe 
  • Encouraging visitors to make a donation  
  • Liaising with the Front of House team

 

 

Ideally you will stand to greet volunteers, but chairs can be provided if needed.


A rest break will be arranged mid-shift

What you will gain in return  

  • An opportunity to work in a heritage environment 
  • The opportunity to assist and communicate with a friendly, diverse audience
  • Build on your customer care, service and communication skills
  • Being part of a team and developing new contacts 

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This role will suit you if you are

  • A people person  
  • Able to work as part of a team  
  • Confident and able to reassure others
  • Enthusiastic, outgoing and polite  
  • Willing to engage with a variety of people
  • Self-motivated and pro-active  
  • A good communicator  
  • Experienced in a customer-facing role  

 

 

How much time will it take up? 
Shifts will be from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 13:00 to 16:00 on days we are open to the public (Tuesday to Sunday).  

On Saturdays and Sundays, the museum opens the doors at 10am.

This role is available on a rota, and you may like to sign up to volunteer once a week.

This can be flexible, as volunteers will help throughout the month.

To apply

Please complete your volunteer registration form on our volunteering platform.

 

If you are using a mobile or tablet, once you click ‘Fill in an Application’, look out for the suggestion ‘It looks like you are on a mobile device. For a better experience on smart phones, go to Mobile Application Form’ and click on the link it suggests.

 

*Please ensure you tick ‘MERL Visitor Welcome Volunteer’ in your ‘Interests’ section under My profile, when registering. 

 

Matching to the role

If we think you are a match for this role, we will invite you to a 30-minute informal interview with a member of the team and Sheila Fisher (Museum Partnership Reading Volunteer Coordinator) via Zoom, where you can have an opportunity to tell us about your interests and experience, and ask us some questions.

*Now Recruiting - Youth Panel Member (14-18yrs)*

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.

YOUTH PANEL for young people aged 14-18 years 

“The Youth Panel is a small commitment for such a huge personal gain. 

Something I love is that the leaders of the panel and the people at the museums that we work with treat me like an adult, they value my opinion and I feel empowered to make changes that will engage youth in our local history.” 

Youth Panel member

Our Youth Panel, for young people aged 14 – 18, offers collective work experience opportunities across The MERL and Reading Museum as part of Museums Partnership Reading’s youth programme. We meet monthly to work on a variety of exciting projects which are great for developing a range of transferable skills. Our panel members influence current projects and programming and are change-makers within Reading’s culture and heritage sector. 

JOIN US!

The Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum are looking for enthusiastic individuals to join our Youth Panel. 

As a member you will: 

  • help ensure the museums are relevant to young visitors 
  • gain behind-the-scenes museum experience working with museum professionals
  • learn transferable skills 
  • have a fantastic project for your CV, UCAS or job application 
  • meet new people 

Meetings will take place on the third Thursday of the month, online or in person, usually from 4:30 to 6pm. 

We also will have a range of workshops forming part of our public and learning programmes this term, inspired by the conversations we have had with you during the Youth Manifesto project this year. We were particularly struck by your points about the need for the museums to offer age-appropriate activities and something different for teenage audiences. 

Our Youth Panel have been working with us on The ‘Digital Dig’ with the Royal Horticultural Society. This project aimed to unlock the stories of more than 28,000 nursery catalogues held by the RHS. The catalogues offer a unique window into a forgotten network of specialised growers that sold plants before garden centres were a thing. More than this, though, they are a window into all kinds of histories – of graphic design, printing techniques, trends in foods and flowers, sustainable growing practices… the list goes on. Reading was once home to around 50 nurseries, ranging from the giant Suttons to specialists like rose-growers E.J.Hicks and iris experts Linnegar Sidney. The RHS invited the MERL Youth Panel to take these catalogues and the stories they tell as inspiration for a digital project providing support and specialist digital skills training to help make it a reality. 

RECENT PROJECTS INCLUDE: 

  • Participating in the Youth Manifesto Project, exploring how the museums in Reading can be inspiring and engaging for and relevant to the young people of Reading. 
  • Working as curators for the Festival 50 exhibition project (2021). Panel members influenced the development of the exhibition marking the 1971 Reading Festival displayed at Reading Museum from August 2021. Panel members learned what is required to put on a public exhibition, researched, selected and interpreted items for display and worked with us in developing an exhibition which is appealing to the young people of Reading. 
  • Designing ‘The Nook at The MERL’, the new social learning space as part of the Our Country Lives redevelopment project. Students worked with museum staff and designers to create a new, relaxing space where students and the public are welcome to study, relax and reflect. 
  • Our Panel have organised two successful Museums at Night events, the ‘1951 Vintage Night’ and ‘Chalk or Cheese?’. 

CONTACT

For more information about the Youth Panel, please contact merlevents@reading.ac.uk

Please feel free to sign up for the meetings that you can attend, and we will send you details about the location of the meeting and the agenda each month.

To do so, scroll down to the dates below and click on the 'Sign up' button.

We look forward to hearing from you!

*Recruiting soon - Museums on Wheels Volunteer*

Museums on Wheels Volunteer

 

Location: Volunteering at our Museums on Wheels roadshow at locations in and around Reading such as large scale public festivals and community venues like libraries

 

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Why we want you:

‘Museums on Wheels’ forms part of our museum outreach programme. We take the Museums Partnership Reading roadshow stall out to events in and around Reading, and also smaller scale in libraries and community venues.

We aim to enthuse members of the public about the museum and collections while we're out and about.

We bring items from our handling collection, a themed make and take, and we collect feedback to discover what might tempt visitors back into our free and fascinating venues.

In 2023 our roadshow will be particularly focussing on our environmental impact and responsibility through a creative environmental campaign.

You can find out more about ‘Our Green Stories’ on The MERL and Reading Museum ‘Our Green Stories’ blogs

What you will be doing:

 

  • help with set up or take down of the stall including gazebos and setting out activities
  • raise awareness of The MERL and Reading Museum
  • celebrate the opportunities at both museums
  • answer questions about the museums (e.g. have they visited before?) and hand out information and leaflets
  • ask visitors to the stand questions – in 2023 this will include consultation around environmental responsibility
  • run a themed badgemaking activity or craft activity
  • A picture containing websiteDescription automatically generatedsharing information about our handling collection of historic objects

 

Activity will take place throughout 2023.

 

Community venue dates are TBC, but we will attend the following public festivals:


Saturday 13th May 2023 - Community Festival - Whiteknights campus, University of Reading

Saturday 10th June 2023 WaterFest - Forbury Gardens

Sunday 11th June 2023 - Whitley Parade

Sunday 25th June 2023 - East Reading Festival

Saturday 2nd September 2023 – Love Unites – Reading Pride


This role will suit you if you are able to:

 

  • provide a confident, warm, and friendly welcome
  • become familiar with basic information about the museums and our public programming (e.g. events and one off activities designed to appeal to a broad audience)
  • understand some key messages and summarise them to a small group or individuals
  • talk to visitors and summarise their feedback
  • in 2023 this role will particularly appeal to anyone interested in environmental matters as well as museums, as we will be focusing on the ‘Our Green Stories’ campaign – you can follow the series of The MERL and Reading Museum ‘Our Green Stories’ blogs

 

 

What you will gain in return:

  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of environmental responsibility and our museums
  • Develop your people skills
  • Develop your teamwork skills
  • Have a really fun time meeting hundreds of people!

 

How much time will it take up?

You will form part of a team and as such there is no minimum expectation of the amount of time, but please note the dates of planned events, and activity will begin no earlier than April 2023. Shifts will be available to sign up for on our volunteering platform and on average volunteers attend for up to 5 hours, with breaks.

 

Who does the role report to?

Members of Reading Museum and The MERL take turns in leading the stall.
You will find out in advance who will be running the stall for each event.

 

To apply

New prospective volunteers - If you are not already registered to volunteer with Museums Partnership Reading, please register on our volunteering platform, ensuring you tick the box next to ‘Museums on Wheels’ in your ‘Interests’ before Friday 24th February 2023.

Existing volunteers - If you are already registered to volunteer with Museums Partnership Reading, please log in to the volunteering platform, click on My Profile, select the ‘Interests’ section, and ensure you tick the box next to ‘Museums on Wheels’ in your ‘Interests’ before Friday 24th February 2023.

 

Matching to the Role

To help us select our volunteers, we will look through all the application forms of those interested, and we will invite a limited number of those who most closely match our ideal requirements to an informal interview to discuss the role.

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.

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.

Community Engagement Volunteer

Supporting museum projects, on an occasional basis, either out and about in the community, or with pre-booked groups such as schools and uniformed groups, under the supervision of a member of staff.

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

Collections Research Volunteer (RM)

Helping the Reading Museum Curatorial team to research into items in our collection.

Reading Museum

Conservation and Preservation Volunteer – Stitch in Time Project (MERL)

Conservation and Preservation Volunteer – Stitch in Time Project

A rare opportunity to volunteer behind the scenes with our archives!

Location:
The MERL Reading Room on Mondays from 10am to 12:30pm for up to 12 weeks.

Why we want you

The MERL is currently organising a combined staff and volunteer preservation project on the written heritage collections held at The MERL.

These collections include a wide variety of material: bound volumes, single sheet items in paper and parchment, printed ephemera and photographic material.

What you will be doing

Working in the Reading Room on Monday mornings, you will undertake basic but important preservation tasks on the selected material. This may include:

  • Cleaning archive material and bound objects with vacuum suction and latex cleaning sponges
  • Tying up damaged bound volumes to secure detached boards and/or spines
  • Undertaking minor binding repairs such as pasting down loose areas of covering material, labels and damaged corners
  • Wrapping bound volumes for storage
  • Rehousing single sheet items in paper folders, four flap folders and Melinex® (a clear polyester material)
  •  
  • Making book shoes, book enclosures and folders

Shoes are a form of book enclosure that supports the textblock. In larger format books, the weight of the textblock can cause it to slump forward, creating strain on the joints and the sewing structure and accelerating deterioration. This, along with handling, is the main damage factor in books. A shoe protects the sides of the book as well as supporting the weight of the textblock.

 

Special Access/ allergy trigger considerations

This role includes

  • Items that are likely to be dusty
  • Using latex cleaning sponges

  • Periods of time spent standing
  • Lifting moderate weights

As you will be working as a team, we will be able to distribute tasks within the team and adapt your tasks to promote as full participation in this role as possible.

This role will suit you if you are

  • Able to both work independently, but also enjoy being part of a team
  • Meticulous in your approach with good dexterity
  • Maintain concentration during repetitive tasks
  • Able to follow instructions and not be afraid to seek help if necessary

What you will gain in return

  • Direct experience of handling heritage materials
  • Gain skills in archive and library preservation techniques and procedures
  • Work as part of a larger project in a team in an archive environment
  • Training in all aspects of the role

Who does the role report to?

Victoria Stevens ACR, Library and Archive Conservator, based at The MERL.

How much time will it take up?

The sessions will be held on a Monday morning between 10am and 12.30pm.
Each cohort will last 12 weeks maximum and will be dependent on material availability.

You will get the most out of the placement if you are able to attend as many sessions as possible during that time. However, we realize that you may have some prior commitments/ appointments in the 12 week period.

To apply:

Please complete your volunteer registration form on our volunteering platform Better Impact by Sunday 23rd April 2023.

Please ensure you tick ‘Conservation and preservation volunteer – Stitch in Time project’ in your ‘Interests’ section under My Profile, when registering.

Existing volunteers - If you are already registered to volunteer with Museums Partnership Reading, please log in to the volunteering platform, click on My Profile, select the ‘Interests’ section, and ensure you tick the box next to ‘Conservation and preservation volunteer – Stitch in Time project’ by Sunday 23rd April 2023.

 

Matching to the role

We are fortunate to have perennial interest from prospective volunteers hoping to volunteer with our archives for fascinating projects such as this, so we will select 4 volunteers to help in our second 12 week cohort.

To allow as many people as possible to participate, we are likely to open this role up to new prospective volunteers for the next cohort.

We will let you know by Wednesday 3rd May if we will be inviting you to join the second cohort.

The second cohort’s first meeting will take place on Monday 15th May where you will be given more detailed guidance and initial training.

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

Event volunteers help us to deliver a programme of fun, friendly and fabulous special events all year, either at the Museums or out and about in the community.

 

Location: Reading Museum and Reading Abbey Quarter; The Museum of English Rural Life on Redlands Road, Reading 

 

For example on 19th June 2021 we are looking for Event Stewards to help at Waterfest

https://www.readingabbeyquarter.org.uk/visit/2021-900th-abbey-anniversary

 

Events Volunteer 

 

  

Why we want you 
You will help our Visitor Welcome team to provide an exceptional welcome during a wide range of public events  

 

What you will be doing 

  • Greeting visitors with a warm welcome 
  • Helping to maintain a high level of presentation in the welcome areas and in the galleries 
  • Assisting with enquiries
  • Ticket checking of arriving visitors for bookable events
  • Assisting with an activity (including preparation, re-stocking and clean-up)
  • Supervising a particular area, explaining how equipment works, and checking it is charged up
  • Supervising the colouring area (tidying colouring sheets) 
  • Object handling (familiarising yourself with the objects and running the activity)
  • Assisting with the gallery trails (handing out the paper trails, explaining the task and collecting them in)

What you will gain in return  

  • Experience of working within a team of museums staff & volunteers 
  • Experience of welcoming visitors of all ages, in engaging environments 
  • Full training and a comprehensive introduction to the Museum, its services and facilities
  • You will have the opportunity to attend outreach events in our local community to spread the word about the Museum and encourage people to visit, chatting about what’s on offer at the Museum  

 

This role will suit you if you are 

  • Someone who enjoys variety – no two events are exactly the same and involve a variety of tasks and activities  
  • Able to work as part of a team 
  • Enthusiastic, outgoing and polite engaging with a friendly and diverse audience
  • Self-motivated and pro-active 
  • Have good communication skills 
  • Looking to apply existing experience in a people-facing role  

 

How much time will it take up? 

 

This role is very flexible and has no regular time commitment, although events are often held at weekends or evenings. The Event programme is planned several months in advance, so we are able to give plenty of notice. 

 

 

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To apply

Please complete your volunteer registration form here on our volunteering platform Better Impact. There is no set deadline for applying, because events take place throughout the year and there are plenty of opportunities to help out at our events.

 

*Please ensure you tick ‘Events Volunteer’ in your ‘Interests’ section under My profile, when registering. This will alert us to the fact that you are keen to help in this area.

 

Matching to the role

If we think you are a match for this role, we will invite you to a 30-minute informal interview with a member of the team and Sheila Fisher (Museum Partnership Reading Volunteer Coordinator) via Zoom, where you can have an opportunity to tell us about your interests and experience, and ask us some questions.

Friday Fledglings Volunteer (MERL)

Friday Fledglings Volunteer at The MERL

A person spraying water on a group of children

Location: The Museum of English Rural Life, 6 Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX

Volunteer Shift:

Friday mornings during normal term times from 9.15am-12noon

Friday Fledglings does not run during local school holidays.

Why we want you

Our highly popular outdoor toddler sessions ‘Friday Fledglings’ attract an average of 50 children each week.
Friday Fledglings is led by Charlotte, a local teacher and Level 3 Forest Leader.
Sessions take their inspiration from nature, and the themes and collections of the museum, and focus on outdoor play and exploration of the natural environment. Each session involves story-telling, craft activities and singing.

You will become part of the team to help ensure the smooth running of sessions.

What you will be doing

  • Setting up and tidying away activities
  • Meeting and greeting families
  • Helping with craft activities
  • Keeping the water play topped up
  • Helping new families to settle in and
    discover all the activities on offer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This role will suit you if you are

  • A people person
  • Enjoy the outdoors
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Enthusiastic, outgoing and polite
  • Enjoy working with young children
  • Willing to engage with members of the public
  • Self-motivated and pro-active
  • Have good communication skills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you will gain in return   

  • Meet new people
  • Work with a team of museum staff & volunteers
  • Experience of working with children
  • Gain knowledge of seasonal observations in nature
  • Gain ideas on how to encourage free play for children under 5s

How much time will it take up?

You will join a team of volunteers on a Friday morning during normal term times from 9.15am-12noon. Friday Fledglings does not run during local school holidays.

This includes set up and take down time. Visitors attend between 10 and 11.30am.

What do I need to wear?

Please note that these sessions take place outside in The MERL garden, and run throughout the year, in all weathers! During the ongoing pandemic, the entire session will remain outdoors, no matter what the weather does! Please bring suitable clothing.

Who will I report to?

The overall supervisor of the role is Danielle Eade (Public Programmes Manager) d.k.eade@reading.ac.uk

The sessions are led by Charlotte and Fong who will allocate tasks and support you on the day.

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 

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

Object Encounters Volunteer (MERL)

Object Encounters Volunteer

 

Location: Volunteering at The Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL)

 

 

Why we want you:

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

You will attend training to understand how to help visitors handle museum objects correctly, and show them what they can learn about our objects by holding them and looking closely. We’re looking for enthusiastic people with an interest in our collections.

What you will be doing:

  • Handling objects from the collection and explaining their significance and history to visitors
  • Assisting with family and school object handling sessions
  • Speaking to visitors
  • Learning about the museum and the collections

 

You will facilitate object handling within the museum; either through the object handling trolley in museum galleries or by supporting family and school groups.

 

Each two hour session is held in one of the museum galleries, to enhance the visitor experience, and you will supervise visitors who will be handling genuine items from our collections. 

 

This role will suit you if you are able to:

  • volunteer alongside others to provide a confident and enthusiastic welcome to visitors
  • give a short, informal introductory summary to a group or individuals
  • demonstrate an interest in historic objects and the stories they have to tell
  • undertake our in house training session

 

What you will gain in return:

  • Training at the beginning and catch ups
  • Experience of working with the general public, families and young people
  • Knowledge of a collection and how to present a collection to a varied audience
  • Experience of handling museum objects
  • Experience of working as part of a team

 

How much time will it take up?

Volunteers can sign up on the volunteering platform for as many 2 hour shifts as they choose on a Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, or Sun

 

Who does the role report to?

Training for the role is overseen by Phillippa Heath, Learning & Engagement Manager p.heath2@reading.ac.uk and supported by Volunteer Coordinator sheila.fisher@reading.ac.uk

 

To apply

New prospective volunteers - If you are not already registered to volunteer with Museums Partnership Reading, please register on our volunteering platform, ensuring you tick the box next to ‘Object Handling Session Volunteer in your ‘Interests’ before Tuesday 3rd January.

Existing volunteers - If you are already registered to volunteer with Museums Partnership Reading, please log in to the volunteering platform, click on My Profile, select the ‘Interests’ section, and ensure you tick the box next to ‘Object Handling Session Volunteer before Tuesday 3rd January.

 

Matching to the Role

To help us select our volunteers, we will look through all the application/ registration forms of those interested, and we will invite a limited number of those who most closely match our ideal requirements to a training session on Thursday January 12th from 10am to 12pm

Object handling volunteers in training

Sessions will begin to be offered to visitors from February 2023.

 

'Our Green Stories' Ambassadors

‘Our Green Stories’ Ambassadors

 

Location:

 

Volunteering at The Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL) and Reading Museum and locations in and around Reading

 

Activity will take place between January and September 2023.

 

 

A group of people standing around a table with a board gameDescription automatically generated with low confidence

 

Why we want you:

 

We are looking for volunteers to join a team of ‘Our Green Stories’ (OGS) Ambassadors to deliver special activity as Museums Partnership Reading explores our environmental impact and responsibility through a creative environmental campaign.

You will learn about the themes and collections we're exploring and will encourage the public to engage and participate in the campaign in different ways.

 

You can find out more about ‘Our Green Stories’ campaign on The MERL and Reading Museum  blogs.

What you will be doing:

To get the most out of this role, we’ll ask you to:

  • Read the series of The MERL and Reading Museum ‘Our Green Stories’ blogs
  • Become familiar with how the museums' collections relate to the environmental themes covered and how they can help visitors explore current issues
  • Keep up to date with OGS projects and related events programmes at both museums
  • Be confident in discussing these themes with visitors in the museums and at events 

Activities could include:

  • Attending events with an OGS theme, to talk about collections and environmental issues with visitors, carry out consultation and activities related to the theme, and share information about the programmes
  • Represent the OGS team at events such as our ‘Museums on Wheels’ roadshows at large public festivals or at smaller community venues
  • Meet and greet visitors in the museums to tell them about OGS, point them to related displays and activities in the galleries, discuss the issues and carry out consultation - at times that suit you
  • Welcome group visits and highlight the OGS themes
  • Help out at OGS events and activities in the museums (and share info / discuss as above)

 

Image shows a consultation activity in which visitors move cards representing six of the UN Sustainable Development Goals under titles 'Which are of most concern to me?' and 'Which can I do most about?


The consultation activity pictured above helps visitors consider which UN Sustainable Development Goals are of most concern and which they feel they can do most about.

In addition, if you wish, you could:

  • Lead guided tours / group visits at The MERL based on the OGS Gallery Trail
  • Write and deliver a themed talk - in the museums for groups or as Outreach 
  • Do your own research and write for the blogs (as agreed with our Digital Editor)

The role is flexible, and you can focus on activities you are most interested in, and we'd be interested in hearing your ideas for engaging the public with Our Green Stories.

 

This role will suit you if you are able to:

  • provide a confident, warm, and friendly welcome
  • give a short, informal introductory summary of the campaign to a group or individuals
  • explain and discuss issues with visitors to encourage them to engage with the campaign
  • demonstrate an interest in environmental issues

 

What you will gain in return:

  • Training on relevant museum collections will be provided, with briefing notes and talks from museum staff 
  • Training in visitor welcome skills
  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of environmental responsibility
  • Develop your people skills through talking to people at events and working alongside other volunteers and museum staff

 

And if you wish:

  • practise independent research skills and writing for the web
  • Gain confidence in presentation skills

 

How much time will it take up?


The events and consultations will take place at different times, including weekends and possibly evenings
.

You would form part of a team and as such there is no minimum expectation of the amount of time, but something like once a fortnight might be a guideline.

 

Shifts will be available to sign up for on our volunteering platform.

 

Who does the role report to?

Head of Marketing and Visitor Experience, The MERL, Alison Hilton a.c.hilton@reading.ac.uk but you are likely to work with a number of different members of staff.

 

How to apply

New prospective volunteers - If you are not already registered to volunteer with Museums Partnership Reading, please register here on our volunteering platform, ensuring you tick the box next to ‘Our Green Stories’ Ambassadors in your ‘Interests’ before Sunday 15th January.

Existing volunteers - If you are already registered to volunteer with Museums Partnership Reading, please log in to the volunteering platform, click on My Profile, select the ‘Interests’ section, and ensure you tick the box next to ‘Our Green Stories’ Ambassadors before Sunday 15th January.

 

Matching to the Role

To help us select our volunteers, we will look through all the application forms of those interested, and we will invite a limited number of those who most closely match our ideal requirements to an informal interview to discuss the role.

 

Just a reminder here that activity will take place during January to September 2023.

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.

Visitor Welcome Volunteer (RM)

Visitor Welcome Volunteer

Supporting the Gallery team at the Visitor Welcome area

Location: Reading Museum

Role description

Why we want you?

You will help our gallery team to provide an exceptional welcome to visitors. You will support staff in welcoming visitors and generating income for the Museum. You will also be helping to complete regular surveys, interviewing visitors about their trip to the Museum

We are looking for confident and friendly individuals who have the skills and personality to promote the museum whilst providing an excellent welcome experience for our visitors.

You will receive full training on our measures to keep you safe and to minimise risks for our visitors during the ongoing pandemic.

What does a Visitor Welcome volunteer do?

  • Supporting a dedicated and experienced gallery team by welcoming visitors
  • Encouraging visitors to make a donation and explaining how their visitor donations will help the service 
  • Helping to inform visitors of our social distancing measures and the ways in which we plan to keep everybody safe 
  • You will be based either at the museum entrance or in one of the galleries
  • Ideally you will stand to greet volunteers, but chairs can be provided if needed
  • A rest break will be arranged mid-shift

This role will suit you if you are:

  • A people person
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Confident, outgoing and polite
  • Enthusiastic
  • Willing to engage with members of the public
  • Self-motivated and pro-active
  • Have good communication skills
  • Experience in a customer-facing role (such as fund-raising or sales) would be useful, but not essential as full training and support will be given

  What will you get in return?

  • Meet a wide range of people
  • Develop your communication skills
  • Learn more about museum visitors’ services
  • Being part of a friendly team and make new friends
  • Gain some new skills for your CV

How much time will you need to give?

Shifts will be from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 13:00 to 16:00 on days we are open to the public (Tuesday to Saturday).  This role is available on a rota, and you may like to sign up to volunteer once a week. This can be flexible, as volunteers will help throughout the month.

Who does the role report to?

Visitor Services Officer - Lucy.Griffin@reading.gov.uk

To apply

Please complete your volunteer registration form on our volunteering platform Better Impact.


*Please ensure you tick ‘Visitor Welcome Volunteer (RM) in your ‘Interests’ section under My profile, when registering.

Matching to the role

If we think you are a match for this role, we will invite you to a 30-minute informal interview with Sheila Fisher (Museum Partnership Reading Volunteer Coordinator) and a members of the visitor services team via Zoom, where you can have an opportunity to tell us about your interests and experience, and ask us some questions.

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.

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.