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The 160 volunteers perform duties in all areas of the museum from manning the reception, tearoom and shop duties, guiding to conservation, collections research, documentation and education. Each area of volunteering in the museum has a volunteer team leader with responsibility for co-ordinating the volunteers in their area. “We do not want to create unnecessary barriers to entry in the form of unweildy policies and volunteer agreements that would put some people off. There is a concise policy. Potential volunteers first attend an informal interview with a senior member of staff. They are then required to complete a basic volunteer form and issued with an induction pack”
The minimum volunteer commitment is 1/2 day a week. Once the relevant area of work has been identified a date is set up for an induction session when the volunteer will meet with a member of staff and the volunteer team leader for that section.
Volunteers are expected to have the same levels of responsibility towards public safety and enjoyment as staff and are, in turn, treated with equal respect.
Every year when the museum re-opens it is re-launched. Prior to this there is a 2-3 day training session for staff and volunteers. This covers health and safety issues, security, customer care, and a briefing on the exhibition and events programme for the year. On a day to day basis each volunteer team meets in the tea room half an hour before their official start time. During this time a senior member of staff will meet with the team and give them an informal brifing on what is happening in the museum that day. This helps build a sense of team and encourages buy in from all volunteers in all sectors into the aims and vision for the museum. Any issues volunteers wish to raise are reported first to team leaders who report to the staff section leader. If need be then this can be taken higher to senior management. When changes to the museum facilities are being considered the volunteers are fully consulted.
Benefits to volunteers include free tea and coffee and biscuits while on duty, special deals and discounts in the tea room, discounts in the shop, subsidised Christmas parties and summer trips and first offers on tickets, promotions and events hosted by the museum.
Volunteer long-service is recognised in three tiers. After three years of service the ladies receive a scarf and the gentlemen a tie. After five years a dress or tie pin. When ten years of service has been achieved the volunteer’s name is added to the role of honour board in the hallway (initiated in 2007) Presentations are made by the Chairman of the museum board.
The personal, friendly customer service defines the museum and without the volunteers the museum would lose the personality and atmosphere that differentiates it. People making a special pilgrimmage to the museum or those passing through are guaranteed a warm reception. It is the personal interaction that makes the difference. You cannot substitute for professional museum staff but volunteers can hugely enhance the visitor experience and services on offer
1st Jan 2007
1st Dec 2013
12th Jun 2009
Gordon Highlanders Museum