Why I volunteer

British Schools Museum, Hitchin, Hertfordshire
Julia Winder
My working life began as a secondary school teacher, but I ended up filling a variety of roles in the university sector. As I approached retirement, I began volunteering at the British Schools Museum in Hitchin, a place I had previously visited.

The museum consists of a series of buildings that reflect the changes in education from 1811 until 1969, when the original school there closed. It includes the only known example of a complete Lancasterian classroom built to the design of Joseph Lancaster, the 19th-century pioneer who encouraged schooling the working poor.
The museum is open to the public three days a week and provides educational sessions for schools, which often include a Victorian lesson in the galleried classroom.
I have taken part in all the activities, from tour guiding, running the cafe, looking after group visits, to running the shop. I have attended training courses in fundraising, after which I helped identify and organise funding applications. I’ve also been responsible for pest control – I checked the insect traps for several years.
Events such as our summer fair and quiz nights are a regular part of my volunteering and I recently set up a walking tour of Hitchin with local historian and volunteer Terry Knight.

All interviews by John Holt

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