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

Monday, 8 December 2014

Review of the Year 2014 - 35,364 Thank You’s

2014 has seen great change for the Holburne Museum and with it challenge and excitement. Through all of this you have all  continued to show the same level of commitment and enthusiasm you have always given. For this we commend you. 

Before we look forward to what is set to be an incredible year for the Holburne, we thought this was a good opportunity to reflect on your achievements and celebrate all that you have done or been involved in. 

We started 2014 with extended hours as the Museum hosted Patrick Woodroffe’s outdoor light installation, Light to Light. Hiring headsets and selling glow sticks to the public you continued to amaze us with your, commitment despite freezing cold temperatures and a sea of mud. 

This first quarter of the year we engaged you in training for three brand new exhibitions 
Joseph Wright of Derby, Bath and Beyond. Picasso in 3D and Kathy Dalwood’s, A Ballroom Banquet. Kathy Dalwood’s exhibition on the Ballroom Table offered the opportunity to 3 of our volunteers to help install her work. 

In February the Volunteers attended the BANES Chairman’s, Business and Community Awards, where once again they had been nominated for ‘Best Volunteer Team in BANES’. We narrowly missed out to worthy opponents ‘Volunteers for Age UK’. 

The spring saw a new recruitment drive for Education Volunteers. After induction and training this new team helped with many of the spring activities including the Easter Art Camps and the annual Easter Eggstravaganza! 

At the end of April another of our Volunteers, Joshua Michael was given a paid position as he replaced Duty Manager Faunsia Tucker, as she moved on to the V&A. Josh has previously been volunteering with us whilst studying at Bath Spa University.

Our summer exhibitions once again saw more opportunities for volunteers to take very hands on approach. Our Julian Opie summer show included outdoor art works which our team of collection cleaners kept beautifully presented. However it was the work of  contemporary artist Tessa Farmer that gave our volunteers some of the most incredible experience we have been able to offer. A team of 5 volunteers joined Tessa and Catrin Jones (curator of Decorative arts) for 10 days as they not only had to remove and replace our central collection in the Posnett Gallery but also install and in some cases create parts of the exhibition ‘Unwelcome Visitors’.  All our gallery stewards rose to the challenge of telling Tessa’s story in the most incredible way to ensure this summer success. 

The Holburne celebrated National Volunteer week with a big summer party in the back garden to say ‘Thank you’ to all of our volunteers. In addition to the evenings celebrations we also honoured a number of our volunteers with outstanding  contribution awards for their on- going commitment and had work. Among the recipients were Trish Tassis, Undine Concannon , Jennifer Bereska and Neil Kennedy.

During the summer the Holburne was approached by Bath Contemporary studios as they began their hunt for a new trainee. After hearing about the Holburne Volunteer programme and the successes that many of its participants have had, they decided that  Instead of advertising this role, they would only offer it to graduates that were volunteering at the Holburne Museum. After putting together a short list and mentoring them through the application and interview process, Volunteer Oliver Adams was awarded the paid  position and began work immediately.

A focus back on the collection formed the last quarter of the year, with training lectures such as Dutch paintings and fascinating facts form our collection. 

The  core team continued to grow as 50 new Volunteers joined the team as well as  students from Bath Spa University, University of Bath, Corsham School and Ralph Allen School.

25 of our Volunteers took part in the annual lantern procession and also continue to support the Up Late series by turning out to keep our galleries open until 9pm on the last Friday in each month. You entered into the Christmas spirit in early November by ensuring our extended Christmas shop could remain open and enjoyed a well-deserved drink at the Volunteer Christmas party.
Phew  - What a Year!
This year you have given us an incredible 35,364 hours of your time and we cannot begin to thank you enough for this. Through challenge, through triumph you have once again made the Holburne Museum one of the most welcoming, interesting and engaging Museums in the country.
Thank you so much, we simply could do anything without your support and commitment.
Wishing  you a Very Merry Christmas and looking forward to sharing all the excitements of 2015 with you  
Spencer, Steven, Georgie and Josh

January Training Lecture

Up the Stairs 
Volunteer Training Session
With Amina Wright (Senior Curator) and Suzannah Angelo Sparling (Museum administrator) 


FRIDAY 23 JANUARY  2015 : 2.30pm
Please ignore date in Spencer email  

During this lecture we will concentrate on the paintings on the landings and staircases. 
In addition Suzannah will talk through how and why we moved our staircase piece by piece during the re development 

Please sign up to the training session by emailing  volunteers@holburne.org or by letting your Duty Manger know on shift.

Why all the questions?

Some of you may be wondering why we have to carry out so many questionnaires throughout the year? The answer is a very simple one….Funding. 

This year we were the lucky recipients of an Arts Council grant for our contemporary programme. This money ensures that we are able to continue showing contemporary shows on our Ballroom Table, in the Wirth, as well as interventions in our collection galleries and in some cases in the garden.

As all of this work is funded, the Arts council requires us to report back on not just the success of the work but also our  process. One of the key parts of this reporting is feedback directly from the public.

I know that sometimes this can be tiresome but please do remember that what you are doing is so very important for the   future of the Holburne and ensuring we continue to gain funding for new and exciting programming across the entire Museum.

Last Minutes

I have to hold my hands up!
I have accidentally deleted our Last Minute list.
This is a list of all of you who have been kind enough to sign up to be asked to come in last minute if we need to find emergency cover. If you would like to go back on the list or perhaps go on it for the first time please do let me know.


Coming in 2015

We have a jammed packed exhibition programme lined up for 2015 which features something for everyone. Here are just some of the highlights from January until the Summer.

Turner Watercolours from the West
10 January to 8 March 2015
Wirth Gallery

This exhibition brings together watercolours by JMW Turner from five important art collections: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, the Holburne Museum and the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, The Wilson in Cheltenham and a private collection in Somerset. Early works from 1791 to 1793, when Turner spent time in Bristol, are contrasted with later landscapes from the artist's travels round Britain and the Continent.

Gwen John to Lucian Freud. Home and the World
18 February to 7 June  2015
The Roper Gallery

The Holburne Museum presents masterpieces of Modern British Art brought together by contemporary artist Dexter Dalwood.  From striking portraits to reclining nudes and pop art interiors, this exhibition celebrates the response of our greatest artists to the extraordinary changes witnessed in 20th Century Britain.

Nicholas Rena 
21 March to 17 May 2015
The Ballroom Table

'Nicholas Rena is the most ambitious sculptor using ceramic at present in the UK.  He's developed a language of symbolic vessels which he brings together in small installations of great power.' - Edmund de Waal, 2013
Rena proposes to create a large still life composition occupying the 8 metre length of the Ballroom table at the Holburne. The still life, presented in the form of a pediment, will be made up of vessels rising from low at either end to approximately 90 cm high at the centre. This centre will be on the central axis of the Ballroom and Great Pulteney Street beyond.

Canaletto - Celebrating Britain
27 June to 4 October 2015
Roper Gallery and Wirth Gallery

When the Venetian painter Antonio Canal arrived in London in 1746, Britain was booming.  During his nine-year stay, the artist documented a series of new building works, celebrating the latest achievements of British architecture.  The exhibition        includes monumental views of London by Canaletto’s British contemporaries and a section on John Wood’s reinvention of British architecture in Bath. This is set to be a blockbuster stretching from the Roper gallery into the Wirth.

Laura Ellen Bacon—Wicker Installation Galleries/Garden 
Summer  2015

It seems impossible to look at Bacon’s sculptures without asking how they have been made. Their apparent simplicity of form is deceptive and we see on closer inspection that they consist of a complicated  system of knots and weaves,    allowing us to consider their inner structure as well as their outward appearance in much the same way as we regard the pierced, hollow forms of Hepworth and Moore.

Happy Christmas from The Gardener's Lodge Group

As many of you know the gardeners lodge group meets weekly in the Gardener’s Lodge in Sydney Gardens and is part of the Holburne Museum’s outreach programme. This festive scene was created by one of their members Andrew.
The group offers creative opportunities for people who have been affected by homelessness and associated issues including, mental health issues and social isolation.

The group provides a friendly and supportive space in which people can develop their arts skills, be creative and meet other people in a safe environment. The group gets involved in lots of different art projects and exhibitions in Bath and the local area (including Bath Fringe Arts Festival and exhibitions at Bath Artists’ Studios)

The group is always in need of materials to use and is always extremely grateful to receive donations of art materials. If you feel you may be able to pass something on please contact Louise Campion (education outreach officer) at l.campion@holburne.org or by leaving any donations with the information desk.

Thank you and Happy Christmas. 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Turner opening in the Wirth 10 January

Our next show in the Wirth Gallery,Turner: Watercolours from the West brings together works from the Holburne Museum, Victoria Art Gallery, the Wilson, and a private collection, and is the first opportunity to see Bristol Museum & Art Gallery’s new acquisition ‘The Mouth of the Avon, Seen from a Cave below Clifton’.

These detailed early Bristol and Bath scenes show the emergence of interests that can still be seen in his looser, more atmospheric later works.

This exhibition is a Frameworks tour raising the profile of five fantastic art collections within an hour’s drive time of each other: Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Holburne Museum, Swindon Art Gallery and Museum, Victoria Art Gallery and The Wilson.

Supported by Arts Council England and Friends of Bristol Art Gallery.

This intimate touring show which has 8 paintings, will be moving on to Cheltenham once it finishes with us on the 8 March. 

Look out for the water colour of Bath Abbey as it also features Gainsborough's home before it was knocked down. 

Watch a video below of the shows curator Dr Jenny Gaschke talking about the exhibition

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Illuminate Bath Returns for 2015

Popular light festival Illuminate Bath will return to the cities streets from 3 January 2015. 
The 10 day festival will flood the streets of Bath with amazing colour and incredible projections and light-scapes.

This year Creative Director Anthony Head will be introducing artist Lyndall Jones to the festival. 

Lyndall will be creating a piece that will be projected on the front of the Holburne Museum from 3 to 10 January. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Fascinating Facts & New Loans Now On line

Our latest training lecture "Fascinating Facts & New Loans" delivered by Amina and Catrin on Monday 24 November 6.30pm is now on line for you to listen too. 
This is a fact packed lecture so make sure you have your note pad at the ready 

Click on the link below and enjoy 


The Lantern Procession

This Year's Lantern Procession was one of the biggest we have ever had with over 2000 people taking part! 

Thank you to all the Volunteers who took part, you all did an amazing job 

Have a look at the video below to see if you can spot yourself or your colleagues 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

New news and Rota Now Online

Hello Everyone
It always feels like Christmas get earlier and earlier every year doesn't it. 

Its not all bad as of course we have our annual Volunteer Christmas Party coming up on Friday 5 December from 6.30pm. Music will be provided by Duty Manager Josh and the evening will include a raffle, dancing and a lot of festive cheer. We hope that as many of you can come as possible. Please do RSVP as soon as you can. 

We have not even got around to buying a turkey yet and behind the scenes our full attention is on our 2015 programme. 

There are some amazing exhibitions and Interventions in 2015 and we will be sharing them with you in the next  newsletter. However I can tell you that our summer exhibition will be a blockbuster as we fill the 2nd floor with ‘Canaletto -   Celebrating Britain’.

Our next Holburne UP LATE will be on Friday 28 November. We are still looking for a few people to come along and help on the evening if you can.

Don’t forget the annual lantern procession takes place on Thursday 20 November. If you can come and help carry one of the spectacular lanterns please do get in touch, otherwise do come out and cheer everyone along on Great Pulteney street and through the City Centre.

Your new rota is now online and you can view it by clicking the link below
We are eternally grateful for everything you do for us. It seems like we are always asking for more. This is, I am afraid the nature of our ever growing programme and I hope that you will all enjoy everything that is coming up

Thank you again
Spencer, Steven., Georgie and Josh


Fascinating Facts and New Loans
Volunteer Training: Monday 24 November 6.30pm
With Amina Wright & Catrin Jones. 

This fun fact packed lecture will arm you with all the tools you need to engage all of visitors in our extensive collection. Catrin and Amina will discuss the collection as a whole. Please don’t forget to bring your notebooks! 

For both events Please RSVP to volunteers@holburne.org or by letting your Duty    manager know on shift .

We have noted that many of you find it very difficult to make some of the evening training sessions. As a result we will be trying to programme more day time training in 2015. This is very dependent on rooms being available and the curatorial teams work load. We will try our very best so that we are able to accommodate as many of you as we can. Thank you for the valuable feedback


Hello to you all.

First, my name is Trish Roath and I joined the Holburne on 20 October as the new ‘Head of Philanthropy’.  There has been a name change in our Department – from Development to Philanthropy.  This is so that visitors know exactly what our role is.  And it is the same as yours  really. My role is to inspire visitors, staff, supporters and yourselves to embrace Philanthropy at the Holburne.  It is to show how everyone can play a vital role in the Holburne’s future through Philanthropy.

When people feel connected to an organisation, when they feel a part of it, and can visualise what they can do to help, they are much more likely to consider making a gift.  I am currently looking closely at the way that people give here, and am so grateful to each of you as I know that you make the difference.  You already inspire and encourage people to       support us and I hope that, over time, the number of people choosing to give will grow even more.

A little background on me.  I have been a fundraiser for 21 years now and have recently moved from a position at The Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. My husband is Welsh, and after 35 years living in Australia, he had a yearning to return home (Bath is pretty close!).  He has two sisters – one living in North Wales, and the other in a village outside of Oxford.  I know I will enjoy my time at the Holburne, and look forward to meeting you all individually over the coming months.

Thank you so much for all that you do.  Your commitment and support is an inspiration and I just hope you all know how valued you are.
Trish Roath CFRE
Head of Philanthropy

Caring for the Collection with Georgie

We are lucky enough that thousands of people visit the museum every year, however they do leave a mark, literally on the collection and building. 

We are looking to train some new dedicated collection cleaners who are willing to give up their time before or during a shift to clean some of the display cases and objects in the collection.
We asked one of our current Collection Cleaners John Green, why he put himself forward for this role:
“As a dedicated volunteer at the Holburne I undertake any number of varied and interesting tasks. One of the most    pain-staking and ultimately rewarding of these is the Collection cleaning and preservation of numerous artefacts and curios that the Holburne is renown for.

Ensuring that the Collection is cleaned effectively is paramount to the importance of maintaining our Museum’s objects and cases to the highest of standards for the enjoyment of our visitors and education for future generations.
From a more personal perspective the ongoing cleaning and preservation regime offers a privileged and unique opportunity to observe the most beautiful and delicate objects close up.

That’s one of the benefits of our Collection Cleaning team at the Holburne and there are many. Just to be there on an early morning brings great satisfaction, no matter how many times you look at the Collection there is always something new to observe, surprise and ultimately delight you”.
If you feel this could also benefit your experience at the museum or grubby fingerprints get under your skin, please drop me an email at g.tomlinson@holburne.org or catch me on your next shift. 

Thanks guys.
Georgie x

Have you R.S.V.P'd

Are you coming to the Christmas Party on the 5 December 
Please make sure you have R.S.V.P'd 

Its all in the name

You will have noticed that our touch screen interactive has found a new home for the time being inside the collection  galleries. We are looking for a much friendlier name for it. If you should have any suggestions please do let us know.
Also don’t forget to have a play with it. Its packed full of really helpful and interesting information.

Help with the Lantern Procession Needed

We are getting ready for the biggest Holburne Lantern procession ever and we would love for as many of you as possible to be involved. 

We are looking for Volunteers to come and join the 100's of people carrying lanterns in our annual procession through the city 

If you can help please get in touch with Spencer at s.hancock@holburne.org as soon as possible 

You will need to be available from 5pm on Thursday 20 November 

To find out more watch this video of Education Out Reach Officer Louise Campion as she talk about the project on www.virtualmuseumofbath.com


You can also view a video of last year procession below 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Short course run by former Head of Education at the Royal Collection

Would you like to learn even more about the Holburne's amazing collection in an enjoyable mixed format of gallery talks, lectures, discussion and debate?  Marion McAuley, former Head of Education at the Royal Collection, will be leading a short course over 3 Friday mornings: 16, 23 and 30 January, 10.30am-12 noon. 'Making Connections: Exploring Georgian Life through the Holburne's Art Collection will make connections between paintings, prints, drawings and other works of art to reveal the fashions, politics and people of Georgian England - with a particular emphasis on Bath.

Week one will explore the Holburne’s collection of 18th-century paintings.
Week two will examine the prints and drawings of Thomas Rowlandson.
Week three will look at our continuing fascination with Georgian life through bequests and gifts to the Holburne.

Ticket £45/£40 concessions 
To book call the main Box Office on 01225 388569       Booking Deadline 18 December

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Fairies have returned................

Following her successful installation in the Collection galleries earlier this year, Tessa Farmer and her wayward skeleton fairies have returned for one last hurrah.  The fairies have returned, landing their spaceship (of sea urchin, crab, butterfly and bug) on top of the shop's Christmas tree.

Tessa explains that the fairies exit the spaceship through their flume (worm cast) to awaiting dragonfly taxis. Three fairies have already hailed a taxi, preparing to wreak Christmas havoc whilst wearing party hats. 
The festive fare for their party is delivered on mini-spaceships propelled by Portuguese Man-of-War swim bladders. Served most appropriately on blue and white china, culinary delights include the fairies favourite treat - roast bee.

Some of the more troublesome fairies head straight for the claret and may now be too inebriated to enjoy the delicious food awaiting them at other baubles. Who knows what they will do while we aren't looking!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Paul Scott Training lecture now online

On Tuesday 4 November Catrin Jones, Curator of Decorative Arts gave a training lecture on our new exhibition, Confected, Borrowed and Blue...an installation by Paul Scott. 

To listen again or for the very first time please click on the link below 


Monday, 20 October 2014

The Nameless Grace. An installation by Holly Davey

Wirth Gallery, 18 October 2014 to 4 January 2015

Who is Holly Davey?
·       Holly Davey is an artist who lives and works in Cardiff. 
·       She works with ideas surrounding memory, object and archive.
·       Since graduating from Goldsmiths College, London, in 1998, she has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in the UK and internationally.

What is the background to the exhibition?
·       The exhibition continues the Holburne’s commitment to displaying the work of contemporary artists who have studied our collection and ‘responded’ to it
·      This is a co-commission with the Holburne Museum and ICIA, University of Bath.  Part two will be exhibited in the opening season of the University of Bath’s new Centre for the Arts, Spring 2015.

What was Davey’s approach?
·      The installation has been inspired by the Museum’s collection.  
·      By studying the Holburne’s archive and discussing with our curators, she developed a particular interest in the three Holburne sisters, especially Mary Ann Barbara (1802-1882), the last of the Holburne family line.

·       In her will, Miss Holburne ensured that the family’s collection and name were bequeathed in trust to create the Museum.
·       Working with objects from the collection and research into the period, Davey’s installation blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction.  It reflects on these women’s hidden and largely forgotten lives by reanimating them.

What is in the exhibition and why?
There are four elements to the exhibition
·        A film on the landing by Davey titled ‘Never leaving. Never arriving.’  The film is shot from the side of a ferry looking down on to the water.  The sea is a metaphor for Davey’s suggestion that the Holburne’s sisters’ lives were perhaps unfilled and asks ‘were [they] able to escape, disappear or fade away?  Or were you caught in an endless sea. Never leaving, never arriving’

·       A framed gold triangle from Mary Ann Barbara’s scrap book.  The gold edges physically frame nothing but Davey sees the emptiness as the potential for possibilities in the lives of the sisters Books. 

     There are two shelves of books.  Mary Ann Barbara’s books were sold with parts of the Holburne estate around 1882.  This is a recreation of her library, based on the original probate inventory.  The books in the display are not the actual books that Miss Holburne owned but they are the correct titles. Davey has included these in the display to show visitors the literary tastes of Miss Holburne.

·       Printed text on a plinth.  This text is written by Davey and visitors may take a copy.  Davey’s words are her explanation of the exhibition.