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Two smiling adults wearing protective overalls in a museum foyer. In the background there are two other adults

© Sheffield Museums

Now I am in my happy place, volunteering at Sheffield Museums

"I am Sheffield born and bred, I love Sheffield and Sheffielders and there’s nothing I enjoy more than talking about my hometown to the many visitors I meet.

As a child, one of my favourite treats was being taken to Weston Park Museum by my beloved Grandpa.  Since then, the museums and galleries have writ large in my life.

Along with most Sheffielders, my first job was in the world-famous steel industry, so Kelham Island Museum, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Shepherd Wheel Workshop are a great part of my history.

After having a five-year career break to raise my two children, I returned to the workforce in the NHS, and latterly Sheffield Hallam University, which brought me in contact with many visitors, both from UK and the wider world.

My first taste of volunteering came about by accident during my career break. I was invited to help with setting up and running the first Mother and Toddler Group in Sheffield, 1974/5. I needed something else to do other than being a mother, and it benefitted my children too.

Other volunteering has included being a host on social events/adventure weekends and foreign holidays for an adventure and social club for adults.  I’ve been a Volunteer Farm Guide at Whirlow Hall Farm and I’ve also spent a few weeks as a Self-Funding Volunteer in a monkey sanctuary in South Africa. Quite a variety of experiences!

Now I am in my happy place, volunteering at Sheffield Museums. I have an excuse to spend time in the museums and galleries, meeting and greeting visitors, talking about Sheffield and its history, including all the amazing artists who hail from Sheffield. Finally having the opportunity to dress well and wear my good jewellery!

A volunteer at Sheffield Museums has a wide choice of roles. Choice being the operative word. There is something for everyone, with no requirements or restrictions on the amount of volunteering you choose. The volunteer is in control, and very much appreciated.

Some roles are regular, and some more ad hoc. There are admin and practical behind the scenes roles; visitor facing roles, helping out on group visits for both children (lots of school visits to Weston Park) and adults. There’s lots of opportunities to welcome guests at events and exhibitions across the sites. Whatever your interests and availability there’s something for you as a volunteer at Sheffield Museums.

So, for anyone contemplating volunteering, I hope this has whetted your appetite to consider joining us!"

Val (pictured left)