Museum shares the experiences of our staff, volunteers and interns of working at Saffron Walden Museum. Jill has various roles in the museum, including Welcome Desk Volunteer, Collections Volunteer and Museum Assistant.
“I’ve been involved with Saffron Walden Museum since December 2014, when I arrived as a volunteer to work on the Welcome Desk. This turned out to be a very providential move: as I discovered the diverse delights of all the wonderful artefacts that form the museum’s collections and learned how the museum ticks, I began to take on more roles and responsibilities.
After a few months I started to help Leah Mellors, Collections Officer (Human History), with documentation of the social history collections. I began by working on documents relating to World War I, entering their details on a database, and it was so interesting to handle letters and paperwork relating to the experiences of people in and around Saffron Walden during the war. These included documents about recruitment, army orders, ration books, and even handwritten telegrams relating to the Battle of Jutland! It was like an ongoing history lesson every week! Having finished the World War I documents, I am now helping to catalogue various items relating to music and drama in Saffron Walden during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, for a little light relief!
A few months ago, I was offered the opportunity to become a Casual Museum Assistant at the museum, which involves opening, closing and stewarding the museum at weekends, helping to prepare for activities and events and assisting the curatorial staff. In this role, I have assisted Sarah Kenyon, Natural History Officer, on a number of occasions, and have found myself doing various jobs, including checking and re-focusing the microscope in the Natural History display area, cleaning out the Malaysian stick insects, dealing with dehumidifiers and unwrapping a buzzard in the Natural History Store. Working at the museum is certainly never dull!
One of my favourite parts of working at the museum is speaking to visitors at the Welcome Desk. Many of them have remarked to me that there are so many different things to see here and so much to discover. Lots of our visitors return regularly and bring their families. This is truly a fascinating and very popular family museum!”