In Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June 2023) we are putting out a call for new volunteers to sign up to help care for and manage one of the most important military museum collections in the UK.
Currently based in stores at Larkhill while a new permanent facility is being developed, the Royal Artillery Museum is one of the world's oldest military museums. We first opened to the public in Woolwich, south-east London in 1820. Our collection is unrivalled, and contains an extraordinary variety of pieces from across the globe including guns and missiles, drones and communications systems, uniforms and medals as well as an extensive library and archive.
Our museum is managed by a small staff team alongside a group of 30 volunteers who assist with a range of activities from light conservation through to full restoration of artillery pieces, sorting and checking uniforms, hosting groups and guided tours, cataloguing new donations and supporting the research activities of the archive. Volunteers contribute anything from half a day every couple of weeks up to two or three days a week, although one day a week is typical. Most of the activity takes place at Larkhill, but there are also some opportunities for remote volunteering, for example carrying out historical research.
Commenting on the call for volunteers, Manager of the Royal Artillery Museum Martin Harvey said: “As a small charity, we couldn’t do what we do without our fantastic volunteers, and on Volunteers’ Week we’d like to thank them for all they do to support our organisation. “Volunteering with the Royal Artillery Museum offers a rewarding and enriching experience as well as the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and be part of a team that is preserving our nation’s military heritage for future generations.
“We are looking for more volunteers to join our team. You don’t need any special skills or experience, although an interest in history would be helpful. Of course, if you’re already an expert in artillery, military history, engineering, conservation, or education we’d be delighted to hear from you. Whether you’re looking to learn new things, help preserve important heritage, or just meet new people while doing something worthwhile, there is a role for you here and we would love to hear from you.”
Recent projects undertaken by volunteers include reviewing WW1 War diaries for a national project to digitise them for public use, fully restoring a WW2 German Pack antitank gun as well as researching and creating informational panels for our main display of field guns in our stores at Wood Land, Larkhill.
Commenting on their experience as volunteers:
Keith Thompson said: “I started volunteering for the museum as I heard that they had a Rapier missile system. I used to work on that system when I was in the RAF. I love repairing and restoring some of the larger items in the collection. Volunteering at the museum is like an open book as I love learning new things.”
Grahame White said: “I used to teach fabrication and welding in Salisbury. I saw an advert for volunteers for the museum in my local press and thought it would be a good way to keep my hand in at welding. I enjoy the hands-on work and having a natter.”
Martin Wallis said: “I have been volunteering since 2019. I was attracted by the idea of a new museum. I enjoy research, finding out and learning new things, and digging into the stories behind some of the museum’s collection.”
Mo Perkins “I started volunteering for the Royal Artillery Museum around 2015. I wrote to the museum when I was about to retire. I really like the camaraderie between some of the golden oldies; good company, we love a good chin wag.”
More information on volunteering opportunities at the museum is available by emailing email@example.com or by calling 01980 653333.