Volunteers demonstrating the practicalities of a Predynastic bracelet

The Egypt Centre, Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Swansea

Ashleigh Taylor, 15.03.2012
The Egypt Centre, Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Swansea, uses volunteers as its front-of-house staff, a role that is vital to the museum and provides satisfaction, enjoyment and real life skills. This is recognised year-on-year with awards and commendations.  

The Egypt Centre has 10 volunteer roles all defined as front-of-house, including gallery assistants, education officers and shop assistants.

Each of these posts has an element of one of the three core roles that have been defined as essential by the museum in consultation with volunteers. These are:

1. Gallery maintenance: Volunteers are trained in preventative conservation, health and safety and security to maintain our galleries to the highest standards. Most of this training is practically based and part of the basic induction.

2. Visitor and customer care: All roles are considered front-of-house and our volunteers are trained formally in customer care, as well as how to deliver information about our collection to all ages and abilities.

3. Educational delivery: We have a number of public activities in which volunteers are peer trained and then have coaching sessions with the volunteer manager. Volunteers are also given a wide range of learning materials about our collection in order to facilitate the delivery of information to our visitors. 

A museum needs a well-defined and smoothly operated front-of-house service. All staff should understand their role, not only individually, but for the organisation and the needs of visitors. This is what the Egypt Centre has achieved through role definition, puts into practice and continually aspires to.

Ashleigh Taylor is the volunteer manager at the Egypt Centre, Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Swansea

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The Egypt Centre, Museum of Egyptian Antiquities

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