Why I volunteer: Markand Patel - Museums Association

Why I volunteer: Markand Patel

Museum of the Order of St John, London
Interview by John Holt
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“I think this museum is a hidden gem, a wonderful space that combines modern design and technology with the thousand-year history of the Hospitallers.

The buildings housing the collection are delightful – especially the 12th-century crypt under the priory church – and they take you from the origins of the order through to its modern reincarnation as the St John Ambulance Association.

I have been lucky enough to be involved in many projects since I began volunteering – from environmental monitoring and pest management to cataloguing objects, including sorting through thousands of photos of the old Eye Hospital in Jerusalem.

Most recently, I have been involved with the movement of all objects in the basement storage facilities at the Order of St John to the St John Ambulance storage basements while the museum’s storage was being upgraded.

I work in retail and have recently been working as casual cover at the Sir John Soane’s Museum gift shop where I also volunteer as a conservation assistant.

Volunteering for me is a little like feeding the soul; doing something for someone else without the expectation of anything in return while providing me with a greater understanding of the day-to-day running of a museum.”

For further information, contact abigail.turner@sja.org.uk.


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