Friday 11th December saw a group of volunteers come together from across County Durham at Beamish Museum. With representatives from Beamish Durham Cathedral and The Bowes Museum, the subject of the day was simply to explore the role of volunteers within a multi-faceted cultural organisation / museum – considering best practice, initiatives and how, across the region we can look to support each other both as organisations and as individuals.
As all three organisations move forward into unchartered territories – with the rebuild of Beamish, the creation of the Hidden Treasures galleries at Durham Cathedral and this year seeing The Bowes Museum host its largest ever exhibition and series of events for YSL – there is great opportunity to examine and explore the dynamics of each work force, to identify the true value of our volunteers (because we certainly couldn’t do it without them!)
The day was a fantastic opportunity for our volunteers to share their experiences, and for us as staff members to sit in on the discussions, as well as getting some fantastic ideas for how to work more effectively as the WW1 Project (as example) continues to develop and grow. Most importantly, there was a resounding decision that more of this was needed (!) by staff and volunteers alike – and we’re now looking at some really exciting prospects including shared training and development, an idea of establishing cultural ambassadors between organisations and for further ways for us to continue to contribute to the value and worth of our amazing volunteers.