Volunteering at The Feminist Library

Monday, April 30th, 2018

At the weekend, I headed down to The Feminist Library to meet with the Volunteer Coordinator, Angele, to discuss volunteering. I’m delighted to join their team, helping out with their exciting series of events coming up in 2018.

The Feminist Library is celebrating it’s 45th birthday this year so it’s a great time to join them. As I always arrive early to things (London travel is so unpredictable it’s always best to, right?) I got a chance to look around their collection. The library was founded in 1975, originally called the Women’s Research and Resources Centre, the Feminist Library, and has since collected an estimated 5000 books and 1,500 periodicals. Fascinatingly, the library also hold a collection of 500 poetry publications.

I’ll admit, my awareness of feminism isn’t necessarily intersectional, certainly not as intersectional as I’d like. Aside from the ‘classics’ and recent bestseller texts of Moran et al, my knowledge is limited (A-Level Sociology feels like a lifetime ago!). So, I’m looking forward to generally improving my awareness of feminist discourse.

The library is entirely volunteer run, and I will be helping coordinating and setting up different events, as well as assisting in running the administration of the events email account.

Girl Museum News

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

I’m very excited to write that I am now the Volunteer and Instagram Manager for Girl Museum, because what do I love more than Instagram and volunteer management! After two years volunteering with Girl Museum, writing blogs and running Instagram, I’ve now been appointed the title Instagram and Volunteer Manager, which couldn’t feel more ‘me’.

I’ll be managing the recruitment and coordination of the volunteers and interns, developing the volunteer strategy, and using my volunteer management to help coordinate the ‘Junior Girls,’ and hopefully improve their experience with Girl Museum. And basically, the staff team of Katie, Sarah, Tiffany, Ashley, Hilary are complete girlbosses, so I’m honoured to join them.

Shockingly, my first blog post with Girl Museum was on the 28th of August in 2015!! I have no idea where all that time has gone. Since, I’ve written blog posts interviewing the incredible Girl Against, as well as Emily Coxhead. I’ve also reviewed the Museum of Childhood, a film review tried my hand at a think-piece, and started a series of podcast reviews called Girls In Podcasts – the first of which went live last week.

I’ve also worked on the Kindertransport exhibition, where I worked alongside Manchester Jewish Museum to research and write about the Harris House girls diary, which was an amazing experience using a primary document to assist the research of an exhibition. Girl Museum have similarly launched the 52 Objects in the History of Girlhood exhibition. Each week during 2017, they explore a historical object and its relation to girls’ history and I’ve helped by writing about three objects, the Bronze Strigil with Handle in Form of a Girl, the Silk Princess Painting, and the Lovers Cassone.

I’m really passionate about Girl Museum’s mission, giving “girls a space in which they can document, preserve, and present their history and culture, we empower girls to lead healthy, happy lives dedicated to creating a better world for all.”

#Volunteersweek

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

As part of my pledge to visit 25 museums in 25 weeks, I visited Jewish Museum London.

I was beginning my route around the History: A British Story gallery, when I heard a little voice behind me, “hello, would you like me to show you round?” I was shown around by a lovely, passionate, knowledgeable, engaging volunteer called Maureen Moses. What struck me about the tour was the sheer love. The love of the museum and the love of the content. I used to volunteer at the Manchester Jewish Museum, for a fair few years, so I’ve given my fair share of tours. While I was aware of what might have been the ‘official tour script’ and what was her own personal, fascinating tangent anecdotes and knowledge, it blended seamlessly.

Volunteering is a bizarre concept, when you think about it, working for free. But volunteering in the museum sector especially is such a core centre to the front of house visitor engagement for many museums, big and small. While not undermining the volunteer sector of other industries, museums have such a strong relationship with volunteering as an ideal and a strong expertise of putting it into practice. Unfortunately, this is of course increasingly due to necessity.

#Volunteersweek is an annual celebration of the work of volunteers, this year taking place between the 1st-12th of June. Both Volunteers Week and my visit to Jewish Museum today has made me acutely proud that I have been in the past, and still am, a museum volunteer. For the sheer love of it.

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My volunteering story

Friday, December 11th, 2015

This blog is pretty much dedicated to exhibition reviews, thoughts on museum current issues and Manchester happenings. But, blogs are brilliant because they are personal. Blogs aren’t articles, or journals, as they are individual. So here’s my individual, personal story, my story of volunteering in museums.

My hometown is in Shropshire, so my first volunteering role was in Blists Hill Museum, in Ironbridge. I wish I could call this a ‘front of house’ role, but it was in fact dressing up as a Victorian, pretending to be a Victorian, and chatting to visitors. I will hold Blists Hill close to my heart, it’s what set wanting to be in a museum into motion. I have a lot to thank/blame for that place!

When I moved to Manchester for university, the course got me into working with Peoples History Museum. Within the module, I worked with the museum in setting up an event for students. Working as a student, setting up an event for students, was so much fun. It was fascinating to work with marketing and events, learning the ropes of specifics, and the massive teams that exist in the back offices of museums. This also led to a brief time as a front of house volunteer with Peoples History Museum, which I really enjoyed, but had to give up to focus on my degree.

My main volunteering time has been spent at the Manchester Jewish Museum. I planned on spending at the most a year there, and it’s now been at least two. I ended up loving the staff, the volunteers and the museum so much that I’ve still never left!

So here’s to being more ‘myself’, on this blog! Hello!

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