In this weeks blog King’s Museum volunteer, and University of Aberdeen student, Hanane tells us more about her experience as a volunteer gallery assistant.
King’s Museum is perhaps one of the best museums in Aberdeen– but I may be a bit biased! I have been volunteering there since January 2014, after it moved to the Old Town House, and have loved every bit of my experience.
I was a second year undergraduate studying archaeology, and new to the University of Aberdeen. I wasn’t interested so much in commercial archaeology and instead chose to see what I thought of museum work. A few months after I started my second year I received a reply to my application, and I began volunteering for a few hours a week while I studied.
The first exhibition I volunteered in was Fiji, Scotland and the Making of an Empire. Immediately I fell in love. Of course, as a Gallery Assistant, I was only experiencing a small portion of museum life, but that’s what made it all the more attractive – for there was so much more to explore!
I was given the opportunity, along with other volunteers, to give Lunch-time Talks: short talks about a particular case or collection of objects on display. I find this one of the most exciting responsibilities in the role. Not only do I get the opportunity to explore the fascinating histories of objects I would otherwise never get to learn of, but I can share my new found knowledge and learn new things from both visitors and fellow volunteers.
Some people say museums are getting old, that no one is interested anymore in wandering around glass cases – that it is too ‘old school’. I have only volunteered a short while, but I am already inclined to disagree. Every single visitor, even the ones who (as one of them once told me) are ‘not into that sort of thing’, takes a sincere interest in the collections. King’s Museum has even inspired future careers: one little visitor swore, upon seeing the bronze-age sword in the current Victorian Time: Spirit of the Age exhibition, that he would ‘invent a better digger’ so that we could ‘find more treasure’!
King’s Museum itself may not be big, but it is a great place with lots of character (the old cells are my favourite part of the building) and never fails to put on an intriguing exhibition. I think it is a great place to volunteer – a place to gain valuable experience and learn new skills for life after graduation!