Across the UK, the 1st-7th June 2018 is Volunteers’ Week. For us in MUSA, it’s a time to say thank you for the fantastic contribution our volunteers make to the work we do here. Throughout the year, our student volunteers work at the reception desk, welcoming visitors, conducting hourly checks of the galleries, making craft activities for the Art Cart, and attending regular staff training sessions on all aspects of museum operations. They also assist our Learning and Access team with the running of events, such as ‘Young Archaeologists’ and ‘Baby MUSA’, together with a variety of other workshops, performances and functions including, in the past year, our first wedding! Most recently, we have recruited a number of new volunteers to write blog articles for the MUSA WordPress site.
We will be celebrating the work our volunteers do with a tea and cake event at MUSA, and by sharing our volunteers’ thoughts here in this article.
Volunteering at MUSA has been a really enjoyable experience. I’ve met some really interesting people and picked up some very useful skills along the way. Working in such a convivial environment has been a pleasure and has helped me decide what I might like to do in the future.
James Fox, former Front of House Volunteer, now a member of Casual Staff
Being a part of the MUSA community has helped me bridge the centuries-wide gap between St Andrews of the present day and the St Andrews back when the Cathedral was not in ruins. Writing blog posts for MUSA has been a wonderful way for me to learn more about my university’s rich heritage: it is one thing to be a student and partake in university traditions, however it is an enriched experience once you have encountered the objects in MUSA’s collections and conducted your own research into their history. I look forward to delving deeper into this university’s story.
Selena Putri, Volunteer Blogger
I’ve been a volunteer at MUSA for two years now, and it has been a great experience. I’ve volunteered on events for learning and access, such as Baby MUSA sessions, poetry workshops, birdwatching walks, music concerts and more. I’ve loved volunteering, as a way to learn and to give back, as well as to engage with things I normally wouldn’t have time for. MUSA was one of the first places I ever volunteered and has given me the inspiration to join many more!
I started volunteering for MUSA when I was still at school, and it was a great way to build skills and confidence, as well as to meet lots of students and locals. I am now a student at the university, and volunteering gives me the chance to take a break from studying and to try out new things. It has really helped me to learn different approaches to situations, and to improve my communication with different groups of people.
All the staff and volunteers I’ve worked with have been friendly, and that has made all of the events a lot easier to run, and a lot more enjoyable to be part of. It has really helped me over the years I have volunteered, but most of all it has been great fun to be part of!
Cara Nicholson, Learning and Access Volunteer
I have volunteered at MUSA for just over a year now before recently being made a paid member of staff. I volunteer mainly in front of house and love interacting with visitors. It is a pleasure to welcome each and every visitor into the museum and be part of their MUSA experience. I enjoy hearing the visitors’ stories about their connections to the Museum, the university or the town itself.
Ellen Jardine, former Front of House Volunteer, now a member of Casual Staff
Volunteering for MUSA puts to test my researching abilities and challenges me as a writer. It informs my studies of Art History in St Andrews, together with my understanding of Scottish culture. However, the blogging is fun mainly because of the warm and welcoming environment of MUSA itself.
Adam Polánek, Volunteer Blogger
Although I have only been a volunteer blogger for a couple of months, I already feel I am much closer to MUSA and its collections than I used to. I now have a much better grasp of the variety of the objects displayed at the Museum and kept in its storage, and I feel I can now play an active role in promoting St Andrews’s cultural heritage by broadcasting it amongst the wider public. Being a MUSA blogger for me it’s all about envisaging museum objects as storytelling devices, and contributing to release their narrative potential for the benefit of all – from university students and locals, to international audiences. I am really grateful for this opportunity, which is allowing me to pursue my interests and put my passion for arts and culture to good use in an open and friendly environment.
Anna Venturini, Volunteer Blogger