MA Conference session on the Big Society

Volunteers: further resources

Rebecca Atkinson, 15.11.2010
Related articles, websites, reports and social media

Volunteer membership of the Museums Association
As a volunteer in a museum, gallery or historic site, the Museums Association can offer you a wider view of the sector and some great benefits, including magazines, training and free entry into hundreds of museums.

Careers: volunteering
Volunteering is a good way to get a foot on the career ladder. The Museums Association offers advice on how to volunteer and provides contact details for museums, galleries and heritage organisations that have well-run volunteer programmes.

Ethics Q&A: volunteers
Information on volunteers as part of the Museums Association’s code of ethics.


Staff development (Museum Practice, 2009)
Issue of Museum Practice explaining how museums can develop paid and volunteer staff.

Valuing volunteers (Museum Practice, 2000)
Amberley Museum in West Sussex, an independent open-air museum run by 14 paid staff with the help of more than 200 volunteers, summarises the aims and results a 12-month volunteer development project.

Volunteers and conservation (Museum Practice, 2006)
Under expert direction and with training, volunteers can play an important role in your preventative conservation strategy.

Volunteers as guiding lights (Museum Practice 2005)
Many museums depend on volunteers, especially as tour guides. Find out how recruiting, training and nurturing volunteers is critical to improving the visitor experience.

Labour of love (Museum Practice, 2001)
Find out how to get the best out of volunteers, manage them effectively and create mutually beneficial relationships.
Beneath the bush fire (Museums Journal 2007)
An exhibition at Whitby Museum shows what can be done by volunteer-run museums with tight budgets.

Mutual benefits (Museums Journal, 2009)
The recession has led to lots of people looking for volunteering opportunities, but do museums have the capacity to help them?

Comment: though volunteers can complement staff, they mustn’t replace them (Museums Journal, 2010)
Peter Walton explains why replacing staff with volunteers to cut costs is a false economy.

Vox pop: volunteers (Museums Journal, 2010)
Should museums rely more heavily on volunteers to help deal with the impact of the spending cuts?

Big Society
The following articles and comment pieces look at David Cameron’s Big Society:
Big Society is already here: let’s not abuse it
Liverpool museums to pilot Big Society initiative
Is the Big Society an excuse for cuts?
Phil Redmond: we're all in the same hole


Volunteering England
Volunteering England works to support and increase the quality, quantity, impact and accessibility of volunteering throughout England. Its website includes

The Marsh Trust award (British Museum)
Find out more about the Marsh Trust award, which recognises best practice and the innovative ways in which volunteers work in museums and galleries to engage the public with collections.

Association of Volunteer Managers
The Association of Volunteer Managers is an independent body that aims to support, represent and champion people who manage volunteers in England regardless of field, discipline or sector. The website includes a community forum.

TimeBank is a national volunteering charity that helps individuals and businesses to find rewarding volunteering.

A database of volunteering opportunities in the UK.

Community Service Volunteers (CSV)
CSV is a national volunteering and training charity.

An independent charity dedicated to helping young people volunteer.

Social network that connects volunteers, charities and volunteer managers.

Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme
A free-standing programme within CSV, which encourages the growing number of those aged 50-plus to volunteer in their local area in England, Scotland and Wales.

Wikipedia and galleries, libraries, archives & museums (GLAM)/British Museum
A Wikipedia page on the outcomes of the British Museum's Wikipedian-in-residence pilot in June 2010.


Volunteers and the law (Volunteering England)
A readable guide to legal issues for volunteer managers. You can also read and download other Volunteering England publications here

Exhibiting support: developing volunteering in museums (Institute for Volunteering Research)
2006 report exploring the potential for volunteering in museums.




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20.06.2011, 10:10
CULTURE AND VOLUNTEERING - a Mayor of London-commissioned guide that reflects current practice in the cultural sector and gives 'top tips' on how to develop and grow a volunteering programme.