I started to volunteer for Wedgwood Museum a few years back, while I was also studying part-time at Staffordshire University in order to get me used to working again after being ill for several years.
The staff are really friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable about the history of Wedgwood, so I found fitting in was not difficult, and got to meet lots of interesting people and try my hand at something totally different to what I was studying at the time.
It was my job to create bespoke boxes or holders for the archives, which could include folders to protect old letters and documents, to boxes made to secure old books in the library or arrange medallions of various Popes into separate boxes for better storage.
Some of the boxes had to made without using any adhesive as this would release gases over time and damage objects that were stored, if however adhesive was unavoidable it had to be of archival quality. In certain cases the edges of the boxes were lined with foam to stop the contents being damaged in transit and make it look more professional.
This was also the case with the boxes containing the black basalt medallions. First a layout for thirty or so had to be worked out, then a piece of foam 300mm square was cut and shapes cut out to fit the medallions so they would fit snug into each one. This was then attached to a piece of card and a bespoke box made to fit the size, each one holding approximately four layers of the coins.
I also had the chance to help store some of the more delicate library books, so that they would last and not fall apart. As well as to label the shelves more clearly with good quality printed nameplates.
In addition to my assigned duties, there was also the chance to help out by designing visitor day leaflets and printed items for special events, so that my work would be seen by the public. Being a former graphic designer I jumped at the chance.
Overall I hope one day to go back when I am not so busy in my other studies, as helping to maintain such an important piece of English history was both rewarding and helped me to learn things about Staffordshire and Wedgwood’s past that I had not known before.
Today’s volunteer is Phil Gilbert.
For more information on volunteering at the Wedgwood Museum email firstname.lastname@example.org visit our website.