Ironbridge Gorge Museum shares volunteer scheme advice

By Laura Burgess | 07 July 2010
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a photo of

Volunteers at Ironbridge Gorge Museum

As graduates digest the news that 69 applicants go for every graduate job a west midlands museum is helping to maximise the effectiveness of the inevitable alternative to gainful employment - training schemes.

Ironbridge Gorge Museums is producing leaflets and advice notes to make the area the best for heritage volunteers, and to offer help to others throughout the region to get the best out of them.

Ironbridge’s programme sees volunteers from the ages of 17-88 dress up in Victorian costume and take on roles as “residents” of Blists Hill Victorian Town.

“We develop their skills, add to their abilities and make them feel very much a part of our community,” said Paul Gossage of Ironbridge. “As a result they gain valuable skills they can use in the workplace and the skills of retired people are being passed on to younger generations.”

a photo of a woman in Victorian period dress

Ironbridge has a thriving and diverse volunteer programme

The “residents” work in the school, the workplaces, the period shops and help in the gardens as well as many behind the scenes areas.

Ironbridge also runs Street Kids for young volunteers from the ages of 9-13 year-olds that allows children to get involved at the weekend.

Lucy Andrews Manion, Volunteer Co-ordinator says: “This toolkit is designed to help other Museums in the West Midlands to look after volunteers better and more proactively.” The toolkit has been funded by Renaissance West Midlands.

For further information or to get involved contact Paul Gossage, Ironbridge Gorge Museums on 01952 435900

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