Holburne Volunteers

Welcome to the Holburne Museum's Volunteer BLOG.

This site keep's you all up to date with all that is going on at the Holburne and is full of useful resources to ensure that you are able to perform your role to the best of your ability,

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

Friday, 5 February 2016

February 2016 Volunteer Newsletter - PDF version

February 2016 - Volunteer Newsletter

Greetings all,

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m currently writing this letter while sitting in the Garden CafĂ©, looking out at the grey sky and the temporary mulchy muddiness of the garden works. My spirits should be down, but my face wears a beaming smile.
Why you might ask? Because day in day out I sit back and appreciate how much effort goes in to all of you coming in to volunteer, even in this quiet period I still see some much enthusiasm coming from all aspects of the Volunteer Team.

This enthusiasm was defiantly proven in our evaluation of how the Gold exhibition went. Spencer is currently collating lots of data for the evaluation here’s some impressive facts for you;
-You welcomed in on 5000 people into the exhibition during its run.
-The new pricing structure included an optional donation as part of the exhibition ticket which saw an increase of more that £2000 in donations for the Museum. Well done and thank you. This was such a success, we will be keeping the same pricing structure for Impressionism: Capturing Life.
-In our final week of gold we saw 809 people go though the exhibition. 409 of these were in the final weekend alone. Thank you so much for those who volunteered that weekend, you worked so hard and the visitors had a wonderful experience.

Impressionism opens on the 13th February, we are expecting it to be very busy, so if you are free at all on the opening weekend, we do have lots of gaps to fill on the rota. Please do get in touch if you can help via
volunteers@holburne.org or drop me a message at j.michael@holburne.org or let a duty manager know on shift.

As many of you remember we evaluated visitor response through the Gold exhibtion. There were so many great comments and in particular about the volunteers.
Comments included:

“The volunteer was very informative about the exhibition and friendly.”

“I had very helpful discussions with gallery guides.”

“Beautifully presented – the volunteers had such great knowledge”

I can’t thank you enough for your work on Gold, I’m so pleased to hear these comments time and time again. It proves you’re an amazing team, and sets a wonderfully high standard for future volunteers joining us, and newer exhibitions.

Impressionism: Capturing life is going to be a stellar exhibition, bringing together a collection of beautiful paintings that have left me speechless when I’ve managed to grab a quick sneak peak this week. Along with the new exhibition comes a lot of day-to-day gallery management change. As you may be aware the Roper galleries walls move and new structures are built for each individual exhibition. Something to bare in mind while stewarding the gallery is that there is a fairly sectioned off piece of the room (almost like a room within a room, for all you ‘Inception’ fans). So we are really going to need a minimum of two people in the room at all times as much as possible.  Another important thing to mention is that we will again be introducing audio guides for this exhibition. They will be put out on the 2nd floor information desk by a duty manager at the beginning of the day and used by all ticket holding visitors if they wish, the Guides are to be handed out by the information desk volunteer on the 2nd floor. Once the visitor has finished with the audio guide they must then give back to said volunteer and then it must be wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes provided.

Spencer and I will demonstrate more detail on the practicalities of stewarding the new exhibition on both Impressionism: Capturing Life training sessions, Friday 12 February.

Another piece of exciting news is once again we were recently nominated for several BANES Chairman’s Community awards. Nominations included;
Ben Heyday for Young Volunteer of the year.
John Green for Volunteer of the year.
Joshua Lewis Michael for Volunteer Team Leader of the year.
The Holburne Museum Volunteer Team for Volunteer team of the year.

It was a wonderful night to be part of and thank you to those who joined us that evening. Sadly we missed out on taking home any awards, but as always it was an honour to be nominated alongside some of the most inspirational organisations in the area and as a team I think we should be proud that for the 3rd consecutive year we are the only arts and heritage organisation to be nominated for the community awards.
Whilst on the subject of nominations and what a wonderful team you are, the Holburne Volunteers have also been nominated for a Museums and Heritage award. This National award which is supported by the Association of Independent Museums is nationally recognised. You have been nominated as best Volunteer Team. We will keep you all updated on the progress.

Lastly I’d like to mention that for the past month I’ve been pulling together all of my technology skills to create a newer/revamped version of the Holburne Volunteer Blog. I’m taking all the elements that really work on the current blog and giving it a bit of a face lift, as well as improving accessibility, and usability. One major difference is that it will now be a secured website that you will have to insert a password (I’ve made sure it’s easy for everyone to remember) before you can get to content, such as the rota, newsletters, training videos, handbook and policies. The reason for this is to make sure that the content is a bit more private in terms of security, having an open website with the type of transparent information we like to share with you is potentially a dangerous thing for the museum. The new blog itself is still a working progress, but should be running by the time I write the next news letter, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for a new exciting Holburne Volunteer Blog.

A concise list of sign ups
 - Volunteer Training: Impressionism Capturing Life Friday 12 February 10.30am or 2.30pm
- We still need help at our Private View on 11 February 5.45pm - 8.30pm
- Up Late Friday 26 February 4.50pm - 8.30pm (includes an In Conversation with Michael Eden and Catrin Jones and Installations from Bath Spa University IMO students)

Thank you all again for your hard work,

Many thanks,

Joshua, Spencer, Charlie, Hannah and Ben.

Friday, 8 January 2016

NEWS LETTER January 2016

Hello All,


Historically January is one of the quieter times of the year which is why we have planned to have most of the major building works around the Museum at this time. The car park is currently being re-surfaced (hooray) and the Picture Gallery central blind is being fixed as well. Regardless of the two closures it’s a wonderful start to the year with lots of exciting things coming up.
As most of you know it’s our 100th year on site as the Holburne Museum this year. We are having special party celebrations in the summer, but most importantly, all of our major exhibitions this year have been curated in-house by our team, kicking off with …

Impressionism: Capturing Life, Curated by the museum’s director Jennifer Scott (13 February to 5 June 2016).

The show will bring together 28 masterpieces from British public collections to celebrate the Impressionists’ observations of humanity.

The focus of the exhibition will be on figurative paintings by artists who exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 in Paris, including Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. Significant loans from Tate, The National Gallery, London and The Scottish National Gallery, among others, make up the 20 oil paintings that will feature alongside eight works on paper from the Holburne Collection by the important but often overlooked British Impressionist Sir George Clausen, founder-member of the New English Art Club. For the first time these works will be contextualized with the great Masters of French Impressionism.

The exhibition is shaped around four themes – ‘Painting of the Future’, ‘Private Worlds, Public Gaze’, ‘Modern Life’ and ‘Impressionism in Britain’ – each of these themes exploring different aspects of the movement’s development.

Good news there will also be an audio guide featuring commentary by Jennifer Scott and celebrated contemporary artist Stephen Farthing, RA.
The Training for this exhibition will be Friday 12 February there will be a morning and afternoon session  10.30am & 2.30pm. Please email volunteers@holburne.org if you can make a session, or tell a Duty Manager on shift.

New and friendly faces.
This week we are introducing some new faces to our front of house team.
At the end of each day your duty manager will be joined by a member of our new security team.
They will arrive each day and assist the duty manager with the very important job of closing down and securing the building.

The reason behind this addition is to professionalise the ways in which we are working at the Holburne. 

We have been thinking of introducing this element for a very long time and we are all very happy to be welcoming them to the Holburne. 

We will endeavour to introduce the afternoon volunteers to them over the next few weeks so that you are able to put faces to names.   

I hope you will join us in welcoming them to our team.

Thanks again for all your hard work, and here’s to another fantastic Year!

All the best,

Joshua, Spencer, Charlie, Hannah and Ben. 

Coming, Goings and more News

Sadly, the loan of "Admiral Holburne" has come to an end, and Reynolds's fascinating portrait will be returning to Greenwich in January, for display in the Queen's House from May.  Although the Admiral's portrait belonged to his grandson Sir Thomas William HOlburne, William chose to leave it to the Royal Naval Hospital in Greenwich rather than keep it in Bath as part of the future Holburne Museum.  Admiral Holburne had been a governor of Greenwich Hospital and died there.
We will be lending paintings to three exhibitions in 2016.

20 March to 24 July 2016: "Gainsborough in his Own Words" at Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede, Netherlands. The exhibition will include two loans from the Holburne: a letter from Gainsborough to James Unwin and his portrait of Lady Clarges, normally on long-term loan to the Holburne from the Victoria Art Gallery.  We will be replacing Lady Clarges in the Picture Gallery with the portrait of Sir William's aunt Catherine Cussans, which normally hangs on the stairs.  This frees up space on the stairs for the return of Paolo de' Matteis's baroque fantasy "Rinaldo and Armida".

14 May to 25 Sept 2016: "English Rose – Feminine Beauty from Van Dyck to Sargent" at the Bowes Museum, County Durham.  The exhibition will include Thomas Barker's portrait of his wife Priscilla Jones, on loan from the Holburne.

5 May 2016 to 20 May 2016: Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2016 at the Mall Galleries, London SW1.  The exhibition will include the Holburne's 2014 portrait of Don McCullin by our 2012 Portrait Prize winner, Charlotte Sorapure.  We are delighted that Don McCullin has chosen Charlotte's portrait (commissioned by the Holburne) as the cover illustration for the new edition of his autobiography, Unreasonable Behaviour.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Newsletter Dec/Jan 2015/16

Hello all,

We all know that 2016 is just around the corner but I would like to take stock for a moment and look back on all the wonderful achievements we have managed with the undeniable commitment made this year by all of you.  So I have decided for this news letter to focus on a retrospective look at the year, Firstly there are a few immediate points I would like to bring to your attention;

Current News

·         The Picture Gallery will be closed from 7the – 27th January for repairs to the middle skylight blind, we have had a problem with this blind before but alas the motor seems to have stopped working for several months and as January can often be our quietest time of the year we planned to do the major work in those weeks, meaning the gallery must be closed as it’s not safe for public or volunteers to be in the room while the work goes on.

·         Gaps in the Rota – We all know that this time of year can get very busy in people’s lives, however as you can see there are a few gaps in the rota. The weekends are currently where we are in need of your help the most. So if anyone is willing to volunteer for just one extra shift this month I’m sure we can keep those galleries open with fluid break cover and proper attention to the public.

·         It was lovely to see so many of you at the Christmas party, what a fun night! I would just like to once again congratulate volunteers, John Green and Jane Hutchins who received our Outstanding Contribution to the Museum Award.

·         For those of you interested in the collection management training mentioned in Catrin’s talks a few weeks back, the date for this training will be 18th January, at 2:30pm in the Gardeners lodge.  If you have not expressed your interest yet please do email me at j.michael@holburne.org 

       Thank you,

Joshua, Spencer, Charlie, Hannah and Ben

2015 a Retrospective.

At the beginning of 2015 we focused on the collection which saw us step outside of the galleries as we learnt about some of the unsung heroes of the Museum’s collection as they partook in training sessions about our paintings in all of our stairwells. This also included vital information on the movement of the stairwell during the development which always causes much discussion with our visitors. The Collections continued to be a strong theme as new signage to aid visitors began appearing in the collections galleries which was welcomed by all. 

As Thomas Rowlandson’s High Spirits closed it paved the way for Gwen John to Lucian Freud: Dexter Dalwood Selects form the Swindon Collection. The training for this show was delivered by Sophie Cummings from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery which gave you all the tools you needed to convey this exciting contemporary exhibition.

Due to the unfortunate early closure of this exhibition we were all challenged with new visitor messages to ensure that the situation was kept positive. I’m very proud to say that we all dealt with these pressures with grace and managed some very difficult situations. You delivered perfectly and began creating excitement for the summer exhibitions.

As the nights got lighter our Up Late series started up again with many of you taking on extra shifts to ensure that the galleries were manned to enthuse a different audience demographic. The colourful outlook matched that of the Contemporary exhibition by Nicholas Rena in the Ballroom. Catrin Jones, Curator of decorative arts walked all our volunteers through this show and used it as a chance to excite them about the future contemporary programme.

We once again attended the BANES Chairman as we were nominated for Best Volunteer team in BANES. In addition Holburne Volunteer (now duty manager) Ben Hill was nominated for Best Young Volunteer of the year. 

Spring brought and air of excitement to the Museum as we eagerly awaited the arrival of Canaletto: Celebrating Britain and Laura Ellen Bacons, Murmuration. 

The Education Volunteers helped deliver our Easter Art camps and annual Eggstravganza with the Youth Forum taking the lead on many of the activities. The Youth forum is made up of 16 – 18 year olds who also steward our galleries on weekends and on study breaks.  The curatorial Volunteers sunk their teeth into archiving projects in our stores with new role profiles being created to help support the curatorial department.

The front of house team saw some changes with Duty Manager Georgie Tomlinson leaving us for the Postal Museum in London. Georgie had worked her way up through the Holburne starting in May 2011 as a Volunteer and then in 2013 becoming a full time Duty Manager. It was very sad for us to say goodbye to Georgie but we soon welcomed Charlie Kippax as her replacement who had also previously Volunteered with us on such things as Museums at Night, Private Views and the Big Draw.
32 of you put yourselves forward to work with willow artist Laura Ellen Bacon as she began to run raining workshops which would lead to the Murmuration project in June.

No one anticipated what an incredible experience working alongside Laura would be. From 1 to 24 June our many of you  took up residence on the Museums front lawn and began weaving the 1000’s of willow panels that would make up the final sculpture. There was a great sense of community and team spirit with many volunteers meeting for the first time and building new friendships.

Towards the end of June there was another shift in the front of house team as Steven Vodli (Visitor Service Manager) decided to move on. This gave us the opportunity to re shape the department.
We then celebrated summer in style at the annual National Volunteer Week Thank you Party. This year we presented a very special award to Volunteer Valerie Deane who this year celebrated an incredible 25 years as a Holburne Volunteer.

Celebrations continued as many of you took on extra shifts for our Canaletto weekender. The sounds of Punch and Judy filled the galleries and bands took to the stage in the Gardens. None of which would have been possible without you.

The summer also saw new Volunteers joining our team and in September inductions and recruitment were run for Corsham School (16 – 18 Year Olds) and UWE.
Bath Spa University students picked up on the Volunteer offer through the work we do with the History and Heritage department and the University of Bath highlighted the opportunity throughout its student intranet. 

The process of recruiting from Corsham School changed this year as we only offered 8 placements. After a presentation at the school the students were asked to apply for positions flagging what they would gain from the experience and how they would utilise it. The majority chosen are also now involved in our Youth forum. 

Throughout the busy summer we all really gelled. Strength and unity was noted not just by staff but also our many visitors.

The new Duty Manager positioned was filled by Volunteer Hannah Jenkins, which meant that since re opening all front of house positions had been filled by people that had previously volunteered with us at the Holburne.

We have now just entered a glittering autumn with the arrival of Gold: An Exhibition from the Royal Collection. The training was delivered by Director Jennifer Scott who introduced our most lavish exhibition to date. All of you have really gotten on board with our new pricing that included donations and encouraged further giving from the public as we announced our public campaign to raise funds against acquiring the Sir Thomas Lawrence painting of Arthur Atherley.

The Museum was turned into a hive of activity with both the front of house Volunteers and education volunteers assisting with lantern workshops for the annual Lantern Procession.
More Volunteers were introduced to the team through inductions with a broad range of ages and interests. This was a balanced induction drawing in Volunteers to join the core team as well as students from Bath Spa University and UWE.

Catrin Jones, Curator of Decorative Arts has just introduced Michael Edens 3D printed objects whilst also informing all Volunteers of the extensive work curatorial Volunteers were undertaking in the Museums stores.

All in all I think we can safely say that 2015 was a year of excitement and creativity. Throughout 2015 you have been one of the most hard working and committed we have seen since the reopening in 2011. 

At the end of 2014 we set out to retain the high standards of visitor welcome and to find new and interesting ways in which the Volunteers could engage the public in all our activities. 

We are proud to say that all of you rose to all new challenges and have excelled in all areas.   

Thank you.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

The Holburne Museum, Volunteer Newsletter November / December 2015

Hello all!

I hope this newsletter finds you well and as the dark nights are now drawing in, you are settling into the autumn season.

With the autumn comes many exciting things to the Holburne Museum to keep your spirits high. The Gold exhibition has been a great start and has drawn in many visitors in its opening weeks, I’m sure that the high quality sparkle of this exhibition has the longevity to keep up those numbers over the coming months.

There are many other fantastic things happening this season such as our annual Lantern Procession. This will once again start at the Museum, and then make its way up Great Pultney Street, sweeping into the town centre and shining with a celebratory end in Parade Gardens. This year the children of the lantern procession will separate off near the Bath Abbey and be the metaphorical and ever so special beacon that ignites the Christmas lights in Bath. This is a great opportunity to show how much of an impact our museum can make on the city and really gives us a better platform in terms of community involvement. (The Lantern Procession will take place on Thursday 19th November) We would love you to be involved in this spectacle so please do let your duty manager know if you are free to come and help.

Coming up on Monday 16th November is Catrin Jones’ volunteer training lecture about the Michael Eden: History Re-Printed exhibition being installed in the Davidson Gallery (Ballroom). Don’t miss the opportunity to come along and learn from our programme, this is something quite special that we will be bringing into the museum Michael Eden’s concept of re-printing classic historical designs echoes our lovely building and exhibitions programme. The talk will take place at 2.30pm so please let a Duty Manager know if you can make this session. (This exhibition will be opening Saturday 21st November until Monday 28th March 2016 and is FREE for the public to enjoy) You can also find some interesting information about the history of 3D printing in the section “Food for thought: 3D Printing” Below.

Lastly, with a festive sprig of jolliness, I’d like to invite you all to our annual Volunteer Christmas Party (Friday 4th December 6.30pm). This years theme will be Classic Christmas (interpret that as you will). We thought it would be a nice chance to dress up in your best, have a drink, some festive nibbles and socialise all together as one big team. If you can attend please let me (Joshua) or any of the Duty Mangers know, so we can plan out or catering needs. And if that’s not enough to entice you, I may even where a bowtie for the first time since I was a page boy when I was very small, this could be a historical moment.

This time of the year is about appreciating the people who are special to you, and it goes without saying our volunteer team mean the world to us. So we hope to see you there.

The new Rota for December is now available to see at:

Warmest regards,

Joshua, Spencer, Charlie, Hannah and Ben.