Meet the Volunteers – Stephanie Weaver

Our volunteer Stephanie Weaver is our last in our series of ‘Meet the Volunteers’ to celebrate National Volunteers Week.
Recently made redundant, after many years of working, I decided to volunteer at Wedgwood. I work one day a week at the Museum assisting the team with entering data on the Reserve Collection and there are also opportunities to assist with other tasks. It’s just like being part of one big happy family, I just love it! Each time I attend I learn something new and everybody is so helpful and supportive.
 Volunteering is a great way to meet new people , learn new skills and to develop or continue your social skills. I find that it gives me structure and confidence during this time of change within my life. There is no feeling of stress, only the feeling that you are helping and making a difference.
I would highly recommend anyone to have a ‘go’, you will only gain from the experience.
If you want to get involved you can email june.bonell@wedgwoodmuseum.org.uk or visit our website.

 

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Meet the Volunteers – Phil Gilbert

Today’s volunteer is Phil Gilbert.

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.

For more information on volunteering at the Wedgwood Museum email june.bonell@wedgwoodmuseum.org.uk visit our website.

Meet the Volunteers – Lucy Lead

Today’s volunteer is Lucy Lead who works in our archives.

 I joined the Wedgwood Museum in June 2012 and stayed for the next three months primarily to gain further understanding of working within an archive.

I had such a fantastic time that when I went back to the University of Liverpool to complete my final year studying History that I knew it was something I really wanted to pursue further.

Six months later I began the application process for a Masters degree within Archives and Record Management. I approached the Museum to see if they would have me back whilst studying long distance from Aberystwyth – and very luckily for me they said yes!

So in July 2013 I returned to the Museum and the archives and not looked back. I am in two or three days each week and regularly get involved in assisting readers, giving talks, helping find information and generally ensuring the smooth running and maintenance of the archives.

It is a very rewarding experience and I enjoy it enormously – I would definitely say come in and see what volunteering at the Wedgwood Museum is all about!

If you want to get involved and volunteer at the Wedgwood Museum, there are plenty of opportunities from helping with the maintenance of the museum to running guided tours, and from helping out in the archives to assisting with education groups. For more information email june.bonell@wedgwoodmusem.org.uk or visit our wesbite.

Meet the volunteers – Jennifer Brookman

To celebrate National Volunteers Week, we are speaking to the volunteers here at the Wedgwood Museum.
Today’s volunteer is Jennifer Brookman.
My volunteering began for the Wedgwood Museum back in December 2013. My main reason to volunteer was to gain collections based experience to add to my portfolio of museum experience, which I had built up over the past few years whilst completing a Masters degree in Museum Studies.
My work at the Museum involves carrying out a Collections Audit in the reserve collection before the it gets moved to its new home. The aim is to go through the cabinets object by object looking for the item’s identification number and logging the objects, and the identification number if it has one, onto an Excel spreadsheet. Every so often the object does not have a number so a temporary number is assigned to that object.
The work I do is great because it involves a lot of object handling which is great experience to add to my CV that can help me get my first museum job. Volunteering at Wedgwood Museum is great because you get to meet new people whilst gaining new skills.
One day I would like to become a Curator and the experience I gain at Wedgwood is a step towards that goal!
If you would like to volunteer in our collections or archive, email june.bonell@wedgwoodmusuem.org.uk or visit our website.

National Volunteers Week – Gina Hill

To celebrate National Volunteers Week, we are speaking to the volunteers here at the Wedgwood Museum about what they do – we will also be looking at some of the opportunities available.

Today’s volunteer is Gina Hill.

I’ve been volunteering at the Wedgwood Museum since September 2013, while I was in my final year at University studying Broadcast Journalism. 

I got involved with the Museum because I wanted to gain more experience in the heritage industry before I start my Masters Degree in Heritage Management in September this year.  

I started off helping with the Museum’s social media and researching ready to write a guided tour. Half a year later, I am now running my tours round the Museum’s galleries, managing the social media as well as creating videos for the website and running the blog pages. 

I would recommend volunteering at the Wedgwood Museum to anyone. There are so many opportunities to get involved and its a great place to meet new people and learn new skills. 

Fancy getting involved as a tour guide? Contact june.bonell or visit the website for more details.

Young Enterprise – the County Finals

The County Finals of Young Enterprise happened here at the Wedgwood Museum earlier this month.

The event saw stalls from all over Staffordshire from various schools and sixth forms.

The teenagers had been challenged to form a business and create, market and sell a product or service.

The winners of the night were Ignite from Alleyne’s Academy, in Stone, who created a portable phone charging stand.

They will now go on to represent Staffordshire in the West Midlands ‘Company of the Year’ finals being held in Coventry on 10th June.

Below are some images from the event.

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Art Exhibition opening at Wedgwood

A new art exhibition will be officially opening at our museum soon.

The show features work from eight Staffordshire University students and is inspired by designs from Wedgwood’s iconic pottery of the 20th century.

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Student Fiona Cox, 20, has produced tiles and jewellery boxes.

She said: “My tiles took around three weeks to decorate, but I am very excited to be able to have them on display.

“It’s such a big museum and such a prestigious company.

“It will be nice too to see what they public think as the ones who come here are interested in ceramics so they have their own idea of what they like and don’t like.”

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Sarah Betts, 29, has created jewellery featuring real ceramic pieces.

She said: “Some of the pieces have been made with real Wedgwood pieces, which I smashed up and then set into frames to make pins.

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“Their grounds are littered with ceramics and because they are planting at the moment I managed to salvage them.“The other pieces are made using found ceramics which I actually found at the Staffordshire University site.

“It’s nice to look at the pieces and think about its history. People have used these, chosen them and loved them in the past.”

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The exhibition will run at the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston until June 2014.