Behind the Scenes : Volunteers visit from Ripon
Posted on by Melanie Charlton
We talk to Pam Waites, one of our volunteers, about a visit to the Museum by Ripon Museums volunteers.
What was the plan of activities for the day?
"On 19 April the NCM volunteer team played host to a party of 23 volunteers from Ripon Workhouse, Police and Courts Museum. They had hosted our team in October; this was the return visit. Our visitors received a warm welcome from volunteer Marilyn, and from Mike our Director. The day’s programme was outlined and three groups, a mix of Ripon and NCMME volunteers in each group, set off to explore the site. Each group visited a different part, including Hope Store, Hope, Memorial Garden , Nature trail and Water Treatment plant, then followed visits to the Interface and 1842 gallery, Pit Head Baths and Stables, our main building and, of course, our current exhibition ‘In Our Own Words’."
How did the Museum volunteers help on the day?
"Each of us NCM volunteers had been assigned to a particular area and we were able to explain the history of each area and answer questions. Then a visit to the Library and British Coal Store and Art collections gave our visitors an insight into areas and expertise that the general public does not always see. Many questions were asked in the library about our archives and collections."
What did the volunteers think of our facilities?
"After lunch, we chatted and exchanged volunteering stories and tips, and then our visitors went underground - and here again one must congratulate and thank the ex-miner guides who (as one man said) brought the experience of mining to life and was a great way to end their visit. Ripon volunteers were amazed at the Education Room and what we offer Schoolchildren and wholly agreed we have a wonderful asset. However, there was just praise for our galleries and the "social" aspect (theirs being a society museum) and they were impressed with the variety and scale of the site.
What did we learn from the day?
"The Ripon volunteers were a pleasure to show round - their knowledge of their own museums was vast (and it transpired they do have a record of each area on hand to refresh their memories, or even learn something new). This is something we volunteers would find useful. However, their role is more extensive than ours in that they show visitors round, whereas our role at present is more of a welcome and description of what is available on a particular day. It was good to research a particular area and talk about it, although I did have one man saying I was repeating myself! Sometimes less is more! The visit was a huge success, both for us volunteers who learned much ourselves from the tours, and for a very fine group of people doing a great job in a different area."
Thanks to Pam Waites NCM Visitor Experience volunteer
We have different roles available if you have some time to spare and would like help at the Museum. To find out more about becoming a volunteer at the Museum click here >> https://www.ncm.org.uk/opportunities