Volunteering Opportunities Based In The Museum and Collections Department

Stonyhurst College is the world’s oldest continuous Jesuit school dating from 1593. It has occupied the Grade 1 listed buildings at Stonyhurst since 1794.

The College has a unique museum, The Chapel Museum, associated artefact collections and three historic libraries – The Bay, The Square and The Arundell.

Until 2018 these valuable resources were largely accessible only to staff and pupils of the college. During 2019 the museum and libraries were open to the public on a specified number of days during the college holidays and guided tours of the building were started.

The college now has plans to widen the access to the museum; offering tours of the museum and collections for groups, led either by trained volunteers or curatorial staff. In addition we will expand our existing successful education programme to more school parties to deliver themed topics such as ‘costume’; ‘imagery’; ‘warfare through the ages’; ‘symbolism and textiles’; ‘reading portraits’ and ‘communications’, using resources from the museum and collections.

To facilitate these plans the college is offering a number of part-time volunteer roles. These roles in general will appeal to anyone with an interest in history, art, culture or architecture and who has a confident, friendly and welcoming personality.

Volunteers will be fully trained to carry out their tasks and will be taken on an enhanced tour of the college building, the museum and the collections. All volunteers will be asked to undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, and will receive formal training in safeguarding.

Opening hours to the public are 10am until 3pm. We ask volunteers to arrive half an hour before opening, at 9.30am. Tea and coffee are provided and lunch will be provided in the refectory.

Throughout the year, there will also be opportunities for volunteers to be involved in a wider range of cultural and heritage events hosted at the college, including outdoor theatre events and concerts.

Please note due to the nature of our historic buildings, volunteers will require a good level of mobility as there are steps throughout the building.

We are interested in hearing from anyone interested in any of the following volunteering roles or activities. The final decision on the role preference and suitability will rest with the curatorial staff.

 

Volunteer Role Descriptions

 

Museum/Collections Room Steward

This role will appeal to volunteers who wish to be based in the museum and libraries.

Duties:

Welcome all visitors and give out museum guide and activity sheet for children.

Ensure that visitors are kept safe.

Watch over the room, as a security overview for the objects.

Be happy to answer visitor questions or find out the answer. (Previous in depth knowledge is not required).

Escort visitors between reception and the museum and libraries, and toilets as necessary.

Assist in the evacuation of visitors in the event of any emergency.

 

Museum/Collections Tour Guide

This role will appeal to volunteers who are confident to lead groups round the museum and/or collections while delivering a pre-prepared script. Previous experience of acting as a tour guide in a historic building would be advantageous but is not essential. A member of the curatorial staff will always be on hand.

Duties:

Welcome all visiting groups at reception and ensure that visitor ID passes are issued correctly.

Ensure visitor safety and give appropriate guidance.

Conduct visiting groups on a pre-planned tour of the museum and or collections.

Identify items of interest according to a pre-prepared script.

Be happy to answer visitor questions or find out the answer. (Previous in depth knowledge is not required).

Ensure that all visitors are guided back to reception.

Assist in the evacuation of visitors in the event of any emergency.

Advise visitors of location of toilets and accompany visitors as necessary.

 

Education Programme Facilitator

This role will appeal to volunteers who have an interest in receiving training to deliver sessions on specified topics to parties of pupils from schools within and outside of Stonyhurst College. The sessions will be for pupils at Primary School Key Stage 2, age 7-11.

Volunteers will receive appropriate training and induction before any requirement to lead sessions.

We envisage an initial opportunity to observe a session delivered by a member of the curatorial staff to enable volunteers to decide if this is something they wish to do. Subsequently, for those interested, volunteers would initially be mentored by a member of the curatorial staff.

There will be the possibility of expanding the role to manage teaching sessions in a more advanced capacity, subject to individual ability and inclination.

Previous experience of classroom teaching or assistance would be useful but is not essential.

Duties:

Welcome all visiting school groups at reception and ensure that visitor ID passes are issued correctly.

Working with accompanying school teaching staff, ensure visitor safety and give appropriate guidance.

Conduct visiting groups to the appropriate venue.

Assist in the delivery of an educational session of approximately one hour on a specified pre-prepared topic, in conjunction with curatorial staff.

Ensure safety of any artefacts used in the presentation or located in the venue.

Work with visiting staff to maintain classroom control.

Be happy to answer any general questions or find out the answer.

Ensure that all visitor groups are guided back to reception.

Assist in the evacuation of visitor groups in the event of any emergency.

Advise visitor group leaders of location of toilets and accompany pupils as required.

 

Project Volunteering Activity

The above formal roles may not suit those who wish to be involved with the collections on a more task-oriented basis, for example assisting curatorial staff with the organisation or relocation of artefacts or in the cataloguing of the archives. Subject to volunteer interest and aptitude and the needs of the curatorial staff it may be possible to arrange for mutually convenient session by session volunteer input. A full DBS check will still be required.

 

If you are interested in volunteering at Stonyhurst in any of the above roles we would be delighted to hear from you. There is a simple application process, which will include an informal interview with a member of the curatorial staff.

Following interview a decision will be made by the curatorial staff on the applicant’s general suitability and the role which will be offered.

Please fill out our enquiry form with the subject ‘Museum Volunteer’ and a member of the curatorial team will contact you.