Museums and Heritage Student Volunteering Toolkit, published 25 August by GEM, is a comprehensive guide written by Holly Bastable, an MA student at Kingston University Museum & Gallery Studies. The toolkit is an excellent resource for volunteers in culture, as covers in-depth all aspects of volunteering in the UK.
The culture sector depends heavily on volunteering as part of their values, for-impact, and structure, non-for-profit. Volunteering is not a replacement for paid or entry-level positions, rather individuals sharing the institution’s values. Furthermore, there is rarely comprehensive guidance on volunteering either for or from organisations.
This toolkit aims to help students interested in volunteering understand the framework. Student Volunteering offers experience in the sector and assists in narrowing down specialities for further studies. Whether you are a volunteer or have a volunteer workforce, it is worth consulting or using this toolkit as a starting point for your guide.
The toolkit covers:
- Reasons for volunteering
- Guiding Principles and Ethics
- How to be a successful Student Volunteer
- Time Management
- Types of Volunteering, with their benefits and challenges
- Types of Jobs: Collections Management, Archives, Exhibition and Interpretation, Education and Outreach, Operation and Visitor Services
The toolkit is a one-stop shop for student volunteers giving a clear picture of the reality of the tasks and expectations, written by an experienced student. From an institutional point of view, this type of guidance is long overdue. Almost all museums and galleries offer volunteer positions, their advertisement and up-front information, however, are seldom as detailed as this guide, which raises the question of why are similar guides not in place already? Internationally and as standard practice.
Institutions in the sector that employ volunteers need to reevaluate their policies and offer helpful resources. A volunteer is not un-paid work, they dedicate valuable time and are often qualified from their studies.
Volunteering is, in essence, philanthropy thus deserves the same attention as donors and staff.
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