Holburne Volunteers

Welcome to the Holburne Museum's Volunteer web page.

Due to popular demand we are briniging our Volunteers this page to keep you all up to date with all that is going on at the Holburne.

Information regarding Volunteering and Volunteer oppotunities will also be posted here.

Below you will also see you can view the latest rota (including last minute changes) The Volunteer Policy and Handbook.

If there is anything you would like to see added to the page please do not hesitate to get in touch at volunteers@holburne.org

Also don't forget you can all stay in touch via the Volunteers Facebook page by logging into your Facebook account and searching for Holburne Volunteers

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Hello From Our New Director

Hello Everyone , I am looking forward to getting to know you all individually, but just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I started on the 18th August as the new Director having previously been a Curator at Royal Collection Trust. I am absolutely thrilled to be here.

Something that always stood out to me as a visitor to the Holburne was the enthusiasm, knowledge and welcoming approach of the volunteer team. You do an exceptional job as the outward face of the museum and I am very proud to be working with you. Please make sure you introduce yourselves to me when you see me around the museum.

All best wishes,
Jennifer Scott (Jenny)

New Rota Now Online

Hi Everyone 
The new rota is now online and you can view it at the link below 
AS you will see we are a little depleted towards the end. This is due to many of our ERASMUS students going home  and our Bath Spa University students have not yet been given their time tables. 

We are hoping that some of you would be kind enough to help fill a couple of these gaps for a few weeks. We are also inducting a new group of Volunteers towards the end of September so  we hope that this is just a temporary measure. 
Thank you so much for (perhaps) considering helping out

New Exhibition Notes and Training Information

Sat 27 Sept 2014 to Sun 8 Feb 2015
We are fast approaching the opening of our next exhibition, High Spirits!
The artist and printmaker Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) was one of the wittiest satirists of Georgian England. His incisive and enduringly popular caricatures are celebrated in an exhibition that brings together some of the artist's finest prints and drawings from the important collection of his work held at Windsor Castle.

In Rowlandson's time, the satirical print was one of London's most important artistic products, and he made a major contribution to the success of this genre. They were collected by the fashionable for their albums, pasted to walls and screens as decoration, and laughed over at dinner parties and in coffee houses.

Among Rowlandson's eager collectors was the young George Prince of Wales (1762-1830), himself a gambler, drinker and magnet for scandal. At the same time, the Prince and his brothers had a fraught relationship with caricaturists, often finding themselves the butt of vicious attacks on their lifestyle, affairs, and attempts to interfere in politics.
Rowlandson turned his pen on Britain's enemy Napoleon Bonaparte, the fast-living Charles James Fox, the ambitious William Pitt the Younger and the glamorous and scandalous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. London high society, too, was the focus of many of his caricatures, which revelled in the absurdities of fashion, the cult of theatrical celebrity and the perils of love. Not even Bath could escape his sardonic eye. Alongside these are to be shown some of Rowlandson's gentle English views which, though never intended as satire, are infused with gentle humour.

Volunteer training for this exhibition will take place on Friday 26 September at either 10.30am or 2pm with Senior Curator Amina Wright in our CLORE learning space. Please email Spencer at s.hancock@holburne.org or let your Duty Manager know on shift which session you will be able to attend. We hope you are looking forward to it.

Coming Soon...............Confected, Borrowed and Blue...an installation by Paul Scott

The Ballroom Gallery 1 November to 18 January

In Paul Scott’s hands, domestic ceramics mutate into subversive comments on our life and times. His expert manipulation of familiar motifs like the Willow Pattern gives his work special resonance and broad appeal. He also uses undecorated factory ceramics, called ‘blanks’; these are     over-printed in the same blue as the Willow Pattern to dramatic effect

Blue and white china is often displayed at home for its decorative qualities; it is a visual language that many people are familiar with. Paul Scott’s appropriation of its traditional patterns as vehicles for socio-political commentary has made his work unmistakeable.  Warning signs for radioactivity are tucked into the border of the Willow Pattern; jet planes streak across rural landscapes. 

On a shallow oval dish with delicate fluted edges, a drilling platform rises starkly above a sumptuous deep blue landscape.  As befits the title - Fracked - the dish is cracked and in time honoured fashion, the crack has been filled with gold. 

A ghost factory, with the legend ‘Spode Closed’, overprinted onto a classic Spode Italian plate laments the demise of the ceramics industry in Britain. The exhibition includes new work derived from a period of research in the Spode archive.
Scott’s ‘Cockle Pickers Tea Service’ responds to the tragic 2004 drowning of 19 Chinese gang workers in Morecombe Bay. The simple but effective images use elements from the Willow Pattern and show the water inexorably rising to engulf the scene. It was made to commemorate the passing of the parliamentary bill to abolish the Slave Trade but it also reminds us that slavery is still an issue in Britain today.

With prefixes like ‘Scott’s Cumbrian Blues’ and ‘The Scott collection,’ the titles of Scott’s ceramics reference both private and institutional collecting practices. On the reverse of each piece are found his maker’s mark, information about the printed ‘edition’ to which it belongs, and sometimes his signature

What's On Event Stewards

Our new What’s on programme will be hitting doorsteps in the next couple of weeks. It is packed to the brim with new events, lectures, and concerts. If you would like to help out and steward at any of these events please do let your Duty Manager know when you are next on shift.
In addition we are also looking for Volunteers for  our Private Views in September as well as  Up Late. Details and dates of these will be posted in the Tea House so please do have a look to see If you can come along and help  

New Family Activity

As of next week we have a brand new set of activities for families at the Museum. The family activity bags can be borrowed from the information desk for just £3.  Unlike most museum activity packs, Our Grand Tour and Art Explorers are designed for families to explore the Museum together.  That is why the bags are not child size and the reading level is aimed at adults or older children. They are most suitable for families with children over the age of 5. Equally, the Under 5s pack is meant to be carried by the accompanying adult and they need to read instructions .

Invite a Friend

Do you really enjoy Volunteering at the Museum? Would you recommend Volunteering to a Friend? If the answer is yes then why not suggest just that. 

The Holburne needs to recruit 40 new Volunteers into its core gallery Steward team by the end of September this year. We will of course be using all our usual advertising avenues but we would love to hear from you if you know of someone that may enjoy Volunteering with us. If you do please request a volunteer application form from Spencer or ask them to contact Spencer directly at

Monday, 28 July 2014

News and rota now online

We hope you are all well? How amazing is this weather? 

We have another packed programme this summer which includes the return of Colourscape, Cinema Under the stars and a very special addition to the Picture Gallery. We still have Tessa Farmers “Unwelcome Visitors” which will run      throughout the school holidays and we have just announced that during the summer Under 16’s go FREE into the Julian Opie exhibition.
 Our new Director Jennifer Scott will be joining us on the 18th August and we are all really excited to get to know her and welcome her to our team. 

Due to the summer holidays we are finding ourselves  a little short (especially at the weekends)  so please keep an eye on the rotas and if you are able to spare a few extra hours we will be eternally grateful.
We will be looking to recruit another 40 Volunteers into the core team before the end of September, so you can look forward to welcoming some new faces and making some new friends.
We have a packed schedule of training events for you all starting again in September and news of this will be posted in the next newsletter
Please check the latest rota by clicking on the link below 
Thank you all so much for everything, you are all doing such a great job.

Spencer, Steven, Georgie and Josh

Friday, 25 July 2014

Ballroom table mats

After many years and lots and lots of our visitors asking for them, we have finally reproduced the table mats that you find on our Ballroom Table 

These are now available in our shop! 

Goodbye for now.....

Time is hurtling on (it does that) and it is now a matter of weeks before I say goodbye to the Holburne, with my last day on August 8th. I have had nine exceptionally happy years here and …

There are many things I am proud of that we have achieved at the Museum but the volunteer team and programme is unquestionably one of them, not that I would want to claim any credit for your success. I am constantly in awe of the time, care,  dedication and passion that you all bring into the Museum every day which is inevitably communicated to our visitors. None of you have to be here and I am enormously grateful that so many of you chose to be so. I don’t know how many of you waste time looking at the reviews we get from random visitors on Tripadvisor but it makes             instructive reading. Not everything there is positive (although I have to say most of it is) but the one thing that comes through loud and clear is just how welcoming, informative and helpful our volunteers are – not that everyone knows you are volunteers. In the comments below, taken from the last few months of reviews you are often assumed to be ‘staff’ and variously promoted to ‘curators’, Americanised as ‘docents’ and one of you is described as a ‘minder’ (I have my suspicions):

‘Several informative curators who made us feel welcome and helped us get more from what we were looking at’; ’and the   volunteers are some of the best that I have ever met’; ‘The staff/volunteers are enthusiastic and assed further information if asked’ ‘staff are friendly’; ‘staff friendly and informative’; ‘the staff are very sweet and attentive’; ‘great loos and friendly and knowledgeable staff’; ‘the docents were very helpful and friendly’; ‘friendly and knowledgeable volunteers in every room’; ‘very friendly staff’; ‘staff was very nice and welcoming and helpful’; ’there was a very knowledgeable ‘minder’ in the gallery who pointed out things I had missed in some of the paintings’; The staff: Mostly volunteers who were very enthusiastic and I can almost say excited about the possibilities of this gallery’
And so it goes on.

All I can say is thank you for all you do for the Museum and for contributing so much to the enjoyment of those who come here and perhaps as importantly, those who work here. I shall miss the Holburne, I shall miss all of you, but I know I leave the Museum in very good hands and look forward to seeing (from a little distance) what happens next.


The Plank (or Europe at war: A hidden record)

A very unusual object is just about to go on display in the Picture Gallery : a simple plank of wood with pencil markings made by builders working at the Holburne a century ago. It was quite common for carpenters to leave a message for posterity with their names, the date, and a casual observation. What is striking about this inscription is that the three men were working in the museum building just as the First World War broke out. Their message is particularly resonant with the centenary of the outbreak of war this year.

They wrote:
“France Servia Montenegrins English Japan Russia
at war with Germany and Austria August 1914
W. Black G. H. Nation J. Pearce (carpenters)
for Hayward & Wooster Builders ”

The message they left would be discovered in 2009 during the museum's redevelopment project. Records show that the three carpenters had come to Bath for work, but were too old for conscription. You can imagine them discussing the situation - including who was on which side. Russia was listed first with Germany and Austria before being crossed out and added to the list of allies. The message William Black, George Nation and Joseph Pearce left would remain undiscovered until 2009 during the museum's redevelopment project.    The plank survived thanks to the efforts of the more recent builders removing the cladding, who carefully saved the plank before it was taken down to the archive. The plank will be displayed in the Picture Gallery, where it was originally part of the wall cladding, until the end of the year.

Thank you to Faunsia (who researched the carpenters) Andrew Swift (researched in the archives) and Dan Brown (who found the amazing postcard of soldiers outside the Holburne in 1915) for their contributions!

Invite a Friend?

Do you really enjoy Volunteering at the Museum? Would you recommend Volunteering to a Friend? If the answer is yes then why not suggest just that. 

The Holburne needs to recruit 40 new Volunteers into its core gallery Steward team by the end of September this year. We will of course be using all our usual advertising avenues but we would love to hear from you if you know of someone that may enjoy Volunteering with us. If you do please request a volunteer application form from Spencer or ask them to contact Spencer directly at

Cinema Under the Stars

This year see’s the return of Cinema Under the Stars in our back Garden. This has always been a very popular event and we are really excited that the Little Theatre Cinema has chosen our grounds one again. The films that will be shown are as follows

Friday 29 August Moulin Rouge
Saturday 30 August James Bond: SKYFALL
Sunday 31 August The Ladykillers

We are looking for Volunteers to come along on the evenings and help steward. The gates will open to the public at 7pm and the films are due to start at 8.30pm. If you would like to come and help please do get in touch as soon as possible 

Could you give the Development team one hour of your week?

We cannot survive without the volunteers who, from time to time, help out in our busy office.  I am looking for a reliable volunteer to regularly give an hour or two a week from September to help me keep on top of valuable data entry in connection with our Gift Aid. Knowledge of databases is required and I will give you some additional training on what to do.

If you are interested email me at a.coleman-smith@holburne.org  and let’s chat, or let Spencer know. I promise to supply tea and biscuits too! Thanks.

Alison Coleman-Smith, Development Officer.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

New News and Rota online July / August

Hi Everyone. 

Summer has finally arrived!
We all really hope that you enjoyed the Volunteer Party on the 6 June. It was a great evening. Thank you to all that       entered the Great British Volunteer Bake off. Congratulations to long standing Volunteers Undine Concannon, Trish Tassis,   Jennifer Bereska and Neil Kennedy who were all presented with Outstanding Contribution Awards.
Steven has just returned form a 2 week break and Spencer, Georgie and Josh are all looking forward to well earned breaks this summer. Not before we have delivered numerous summer parties, weddings and corporate events, phew!
Spencer has been working with the curatorial team to put together an exciting training and lecture series for you for the rest of the year and the first part of 2015. Watch this space for more details.
There will be another change in the Wirth Gallery over the Summer (see below) and preparations are under way for our autumn/winter programme.
You can view your new rota by clicking the link below 
Your hard work and commitment as always overwhelms us, thank you for everything you do for the Museum.
See You soon
Spencer, Steven, Georgie and Josh

Edouart Scissor Hands: Silhouette Likenesses by an Ingenious Artist

12 July to 12 October: The Wirth Gallery

In July we will be welcoming another exciting exhibition into the Wirth Gallery

This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the Holburne’s  collection of portraits by the French silhouettecutter Augustin Edouart (1789–1861). The realism and detail of Edouart’s full-length characters, simply cut out of black paper “by scissors alone”, is remarkable. The exhibition will include some of his finest and most famous silhouettes.

Colourscape Returns

Colourscape has been part of our imaginative  Summer landscape for the past two seasons and we are delighted to welcome back the festival. The inflatable Moonorooni that fills the Museum’s front lawn has been so successful because it offers a unique colour drenching experience that is a sensory delight for all ages. Don’t miss the opportunity to soak up some pure colour this summer.

If you are new to Volunteering this is a great experience that we urge you all to try out.

Saturday 16 to Monday 25 August 2014

"Unwelcome Visitors” Wowing our Summer Audience

We hope that most of you will have enjoyed our new installation by Tessa Farmer in both the Collection and Mezzainine galleries.

A huge amount of work went into installing this exhibition and we would like to thank Volunteers, Helen Hood, Ben Hill, Liam Wiseman and Hattie Lamb who all worked alongside Tessa and Decorative Arts Curator Catrin Jones. They spent a lot of time with the tiny fairies and beasts, sometimes up until 11.15pm at night.

I am sure you will all agree that their hard work has paid off and we now have a truly incredible installation.

As you will have seen, some of the pieces are quite fragile. Therefore we ask that visitors do not touch or blow any of the creatures. It is of course very tempting but we am confident that you will all manage those situations perfectly.  Please encourage people to take pictures with their phones and upload them to Twitter and Facebook. This exhibition is too good not to shout about

Laura's Place 44AD

44AD artspace would like to invite you to Laura’s Place, an exhibition of fresh new artworks - in a diverse range of media, featuring painting, film, ceramics, jewellery, sculpture and 1,777 badges!

Over 50 artists responded to an 18th century portrait from The Holburne Museum Collection. The painting is of Henrietta Laura Pulteney, 1777, by Angelica Kauffmann.

The subject known as Laura, was the 1st (and last) Countess of Bath. Laura was responsible for developing much of eastern Bath, giving her name to Henrietta Gardens, Pulteney Bridge, Great Pulteney Street and Laura Place.

The curators, Katie O’Brien and Melissa Wraxall wanted to find a painting which would have a strong connection with the history of Bath, to inspire new twenty-first century artworks for their fundraising exhibition. They are enormously grateful to the Senior Curator of the Holburne Museum, Amina Wright, who has been enormously helpful and supportive of their project.  
And, special thanks of course to all the participating artists! There are some fantastic artworks for sale, with proceeds in aid of 44AD’s move (Aug 2014) to their new premises in Bath’s CityCentre. 


Exhibition Continues: 27 June – 6 July 2014
Our Very own Duty Manager Josh has submitted a Multi media piece for the exhibition so please do go along to support

Director Up Dates

We just wanted to keep you all updated on the Holburne’s Arrival and Departures board.
Xa’s will be leaving us at the end of the first week in August and our new Director Jennifer Scott’s first official day will be the 18 August. Jennifer will be around during July for a hand over period with Xa and I am sure she will say “Hello” when she is in the building