Volunteer Hero: Peter Milsom

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As part of our week-long celebration of our wonderful volunteers, today we're honouring the contributions of our longest-serving volunteer, Peter Milsom, who helped at the Museum from 2006-2019. Discover Peter's lasting legacy thanks to the amazing work he did over the course of his time at the Museum, from lovingly restoring machinery and carpentry, to helping out with public tours.

Here's a model of a ripping machine expertly restored by Peter, a conservation in action volunteer.

Notice the windows in the background to get an idea of how this enormous mining machine has been scaled down to an exact model!

Using his conservation skills on mining machine models, Peter transformed this object...

From this...

To this!

Putting things together, from the straightforward...



Peter’s carpentry ‘know-how’ described as ‘second to none.’

He puzzled out the ways the bits might fit together , set up a labelling system and recorded how this ‘starvationer’ (a type of boat used in coal mining) could be re-built.

Peter's training in technical drawing along with a flair for art came together in this project that helped show the progress of the mining industry:

Here's the Learning Team’s idea for a new resource realised in a draft copy created by Peter.

And here's the final product! Full version can be viewed here.

Combining a love of nature and photography, he recorded a year in the life of our outdoor space

See how he notices the detail! Can you spot the slug, the snail and the butterfly?

He was always ready to lend a hand with exhibition installation, and to support public tours of the Great Store Explore!

Peter helped visitors discover more about the stories behind our displays and to support, from its beginnings, the volunteer programme and its growing band of fellow volunteers.

In the four and a half years I have been a volunteer in Conservation, I was very quickly impressed with both Peter’s technical ability and woodworking skills which were exceptional, and I which I would  say were of cabinet makers standard.

To Peter, a spade was definitely a spade and his very direct manner and work ethic was reflected in the passion and professionalism he displayed as a volunteer, setting an example to us all.

His presence and wry sense of humour will be greatly missed and he leaves a legacy of some fine work amongst which is a woodworking bench and storage cupboards for the workshop, handmade and built to last a century!

    Ben Martin

    Fellow volunteer and friend




Ben Martin, Volunteer at the National Coal Mining Museum

Posted in Learn | Heroes | Volunteering


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