Volunteers’ Week takes place every year from the 1-7 of June, and is a chance to celebrate all of the fantastic work our volunteers do here at Craven Museum. Between February and May we’ve been running a cataloguing project, where our volunteers have been working through our ephemera collection and adding previously unrecorded objects to our Museum database, so that they can be used for future research. They have also been helping out at our Craven Museum on Tour events, showing visitors our fascinating handling collection.
On the 4th of June we invited our volunteers to a tea and cake afternoon to show our appreciation, and to have a chat with them about their work.
We asked them to describe in three words what their experience of volunteering at Craven Museum has been like. Check out the image below to see what they said!
We also had a chat with Martin, one of our long-standing volunteers who has also been involved in our recent cataloguing project, about his time at Craven Museum.
Martin, what inspired you to start volunteering at Craven Museum?
I started volunteering around 10 years ago when I heard that Craven Museum was recruiting some new volunteers. I never studied history formally, but I got into it as a hobby and wanted to get more involved with the Museum. I really enjoy learning about Medieval Britain and the War of the Roses, but I don’t have a favourite period in history – all of it is fascinating . Keeping an open mind means you sometimes come across stories and past events that you never thought would be interesting, but are actually really intriguing!
You have recently been working on the Volunteer Cataloguing Project – what have you found during this time?
Recently we have discovered a large quantity of papers relating to the Dewhurst Mill estate, which have been a really unexpected find. Dewhurst’s was one of the largest Mills in Skipton, but these papers talk about the properties that the family owned around the town, not the day-to-day business of the mill. They cover everything from property repairs and correspondence about access, to water pipes and building rights. The collection includes lots of old maps, which show properties that have now been demolished, along with lists of tenants who lived in the buildings – it’s like a jigsaw putting it all together! It’s also a really valuable resource, as it may be able to help people who are interested in researching their family history, or looking into the history of certain areas in Skipton.
That’s great! So overall, why do you like volunteering at Craven Museum?
I love the fact that you never know what you’re going to find in the collection! Working on the ephemera boxes is particularly interesting, as you often find documents that contain ‘little history’ stories – not big events, but small pieces of information that tell you about the lives of ordinary people living in Craven. There’s also a good volunteering community, and it’s nice to meet new people and spend time with others who you have something in common with.
Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers who contribute a huge amount to Craven Museum! Would you like to get involved in volunteering yourself? Feel free to contact us about our upcoming projects.