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, 3 July 2015

Holburne News 3 July 2015

Hello Everyone

I hope you are all well.

I am contacting you with some sad news from the Holburne.

After 3 years Steven has decided it is time for him to move on to new things.
As you can imagine this is very sad news for all of us here at the Museum.
It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Steven over the years as a Volunteer, then Duty manager and now Visitor Services Manager.

He has had an incredible journey through the museum and he will leave a big gap. Not just as a colleague but also a great friend to many of us.

That said we wish him all the luck in the world with his next big adventure.
Steven will be leaving us on 22 July and then he and his will be heading to Switzerland to live.  

I have taken the decision not to replace Steven but to look at the Front of House department overall to ensure that I am able to offer the same development opportunities to my team as I was able to with Steven.

The Visitor Services and Commercial department looks after many things, the commercial operation, venue hire and weddings, event delivery, all aspects of Front of House and visitor service and of course the Volunteer programme.

As we work in so many areas the decision has been taken to divide up some of Steven’s responsibilities and give the opportunity for promotion to both Joshua and Charlie.

Charlie will be taking on extra duties as Venue Hire Co-Ordinator and Joshua will be taking extra responsibilities as Volunteer Co-ordinator. Both of them are really looking forward to the challenges in store for them and I am so excited to be able to offer the opportunity and guidance in these new roles. Do not worry they will continue to duty manage so you will still see them on a daily basis.

Ben will be remaining as a freelance duty manager and we will be advertising for a full time Duty Manager in the next few days. Details will be able to be viewed on our website www.holburne.org

So this is sad news to be losing Steven but fantastic news for both Joshua and Charlie as they take much larger roles within the organisation.

We all hope that you will join us in wishing Steven well in his new life
We will all miss him

With Kind Regards

Friday, 26 June 2015

News and Rota now online (July/August)

Hello Everyone
We hope this edition of the newsletter finds you well?

I hope that those of you who were able to make it enjoyed the party on Friday 12 June. It was a really fun evening and such a nice way to say thank you to all of you for all your hard work and support.

 It was lovely to see old faces such as our jazz singer for the evening Clara Atkins who was one of our original duty managers. It was also a treat to see Joshua perform once again.

The bake off was great fun with Volunteer Carolyn Cowley taking 1st prize and Ruth Sheppard receiving a special commendation. This summer we honored a long standing Volunteer for her outstanding contribution to the Holburne. We announced Valerie Deane as this years    recipient, as she celebrates 25 years with us here at the Holburne. Congratulations and Thank you Valerie!

You will have noticed our merry band of volunteer willow weavers on the fornt lawn over the last few weeks as they have been assisting sculpture Laura Ellen Bacon as she creates our summer installation “Murmuration”. This team of hardy volunteers have worked tirelessly over the entire month to create this magical piece. There has been such an amazing sense of community and fun about the entire project, its just amazing to see it up there on the balcony.

     (Laura Ellen Bacon with some of the Willow Weaving Volunteers) 

We are expecting a busy summer with our brand new exhibition, Canaletto: Celebrating Britain. The exhibition will span over the Rope and The Wirth so it is especially important that everyone is available for their shifts. Please do get in touch as soon as you can if you can not make a shift as due to the summer holidays it is very difficult to find cover. 

In addition if any of you are able to perhaps cover one of the Volunteer Needed slots we would love to hear from you   

Your new rota is now online and you can view it by clicking he link below or on the Volunteer Rota page on the right hand side of this page 

I really hope that you enjoy the exhibitions this summer, there is a great sense of excitement surrounding them both.

Thank you all so much for everything you do for us. Your support means the world to us, we are very lucky to have such a wonderful and engaged team

Thank you so much
Spencer, Steven, Joshua, Charlie and Ben


What you need to Know?
There are some new things happening surrounding our Summer exhibition and we have tried to outline some of those here.

Here are 3 reasons people should visit the show.

· Enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful views of Venice and London
· Learn about the development of some of London’s most important landmarks
· Find out what a flying swineherd and mythical druids have to do with the buildings of Georgian Bath

Are there any special offers?
Yes there are. Children under 16 will continue to go into the exhibition FREE. There will be a two for one offer on exhibition tickets every Tuesday, billed as “Two for Tuesday”

The Garden Café will also be running a special Canaletto inspired menu. You can chose one of the named specials and get an exhibition ticket for just £13.95. This is available from the Garden café and the Information desk on the ground floor

Is there a brochure?

A catalogue entitled Celebrating Britain is available for £19.95
All of the paintings feature in the book. However a number of the small works on paper are not featured in the book.

The essay has been written by the Director of Compton Verny, Steven Parissien.

Other Notes. 
For the first time the show will span over two galleries.Therefore we are asking that you do not take peoples tickets from them but simply put a small tare in the corner of the ticket. This will allow them to move from the Roper to the Wirth gallery with ease.

Canaletto Weekender
24 - 26 July
To celebrate our summer exhibition we have a whole weekend of activities, lectures, live music, food and late night openings planned. We are looking for Volunteers to help with our Up Late’s on Friday 24 and Saturday 25. Please let us know if you can help. A full line up of events can be found in our latest What’s On guide. 

The Saturday will feature a live concert in the Garden.

Supporting the headline act Rivers of England will be our very own Joshua Lewis Michael and Singer Songwriter Maaike Siegerist.

We really hope that you will come along and join the fun


On Friday 24 July we will be hosting a special Canaletto Study Afternoon .          (12.45—5.15pm) 

As a thank you we would like to offer our Volunteers a special discounted rate of just £15 to attend (normal full price £25)

You can book tickets for this event at the front desk.
Please see below a full programme.

 Celebrating Britain: An Introduction
Amina Wright, Senior Curator, the Holburne Museum
Canaletto in Buckingham Palace
Marion McCauley, former Head of Education at the Royal Collection
John Wood: Building Myths and Britishness in Bath
Dr Amy Frost, Architectural Curator of the Bath Preservation Trust)

Family Engagement in the Sackler Centre

We have some great new activities in the Sackler centre next to the Roper gallery to coincide with the Canaletto exhibition. 

The Sackler is free to enter to everyone and please do encourage people to go in and have fun with all the activities. 

These include: 

Push the Boat Out
Canaletto loved painting waterways, from the canals of Venice to the busiest street in London: The Thames.

Everyone travelled by river, whether they were kings and queens, lord mayors or the poor. We are encouraging people to draw their own boats, cut them out and stick them to our incredible water ways scene.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame
Giovanni Antonio Canal was born in Venice in 1697.
As the son of the painter Bernardo Canal, he became known as Canaletto or “little Canal”.
A blue plaque marks the house on 41 Beak Street, Soho where Canaletto is said to have lived when he moved to London. Our visitors can now make their own Blue Plaaque and place on our red brick wall.

The Stage is set….
Did you know Canaletto began his career painting the backdrops in theatres?
In later life he used ‘artistic licence’ to combine scenes of real buildings and architecture with details from his imagination!

(These pieces are known as ‘capricci’ in Italian)
We would like to encourage everyone to draw  a famous building in London and add to our specially crafted stage set.

Our Education team have worked really hard to create all of these activities. We hope you will encourage all of our visitors to enjoy them.

Tourist Season

Summer is here and our visitor profile will see a huge increase in tourists here at the Museum.

To help encourage more tourists to come and enjoy the Museum we are inviting key members of the Bath Tourism industry to the Museum to introduce them to our summer exhibitions and our plans moving forward into Christmas.   The group will include guest house and hotel owners, members of the tourist information centre and tour group bookers.

This will take place on Tuesday 7 July 6pm.

We really would like your help as ambassadors for the Museum to come and help steward galleries and help these visitors get to know the collection  and exhibitions more.

If you are able to come and help on the 7th we would love to here from you. Please email Spencer at s.hancock@holburne.org or let your duty manager know if you can help on your next shift

Cinema Under The Stars

It must be Summer as The Little Theatre Cinema will be back here in the Holburne Gardens with their big screen and 3 epic movies.

Cinema Under the Stars will take place from the 3 - 5 July and there is an opportunity for you to come along and help steward and in turn get to see the movies for free.
The films this year are:

Friday 3 July  - JAWS  Celebrating 40 years since its first release!
Saturday 4 July—The Grand Budapest Hotel, a Wes Anderson Classic
Sunday 5 July  - Some Like it Hot! Who can resist a little bit of Marilyn and Tony Curtis to finish off the week. 

If you would like to be involved please do get in touch with Spencer at s.hancock@holburne.org or let your duty manager know on your next shift

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Laura Ellen Bacon: Murmuration: Videos.

learn more about the fantastic sculpture on the front of the Museum and how it was all put together 




Friday, 29 May 2015

News and Rota now online

We hope this edition of the newsletter finds you well?

There is lots going on at the Museum over the next few weeks with the installation of our summer exhibition, Canaletto:Celebrating Britain. You will also notice from 1 June a whole army of volunteers on the front lawn assisting artist Laura Ellen Bacon with our incredible outdoor summer installation, Murmuration.

 This piece is going to be visually stunning and we cant wait to share it all with you.

In addition to this contemporary work we have also issued information about our forthcoming contemporary programme for the rest of the year. The programme features Japanese paper cut artist Nahoko Kojima and Michael Eden who uses 3D printing technology to create objects. You can find a small brochure about these works at the information desk when you come in on your next shift

With summer upon us, so is the tourist season. Our Information desk volunteers try so hard to catch everyone coming in with back packs, however when they are talking to visitors or answering the phone it is sometimes difficult to catch everyone. Please do continue to ask all visitors to carry back packs at their side or taken them back to the ground floor to be stowed, thank you so much.

You have all been doing such a fantastic job through the exhibition closure period and we can not wait to raise a glass to you all on the 12 June at the Volunteer summer party. Thank you all so much.

We are so sorry that we had postpone the training session with Catrin with regards to Pottery and Porcelain. We are trying to find a new date for it to take place and we will be in touch about this very soon.

The Rotas are now online and can be viewed at the link below or by clicking on Volunteer Rota on the right hand side of this page. 
Please do let us know as soon as possible if you need to swap a shift 

Once again thank you all so much for everything that you do for us. Without your continued support and hard work we would not be able to deliver such an exciting and varied programme.

See you all soon

Spencer , Steven, Josh, Charlie and Ben 

Celebrating Canaletto

As you are all aware our Incredible summer exhibition will be Canaletto: Celebrating Britain. The exhibition will include   major loans from Compton Verney, The National Trust , The British Museum and Tate. This celebration of British architecture and scenery by one of Italy’s greatest painters will not only fill our Roper Gallery but will stretch across to the Wirth Gallery as well. We are expecting a very busy summer and therefore its all hands to the pumps.

You will notice that there are some gaps on the rota (especially at weekends) due to well deserved holidays  and summer breaks. If you are in a position where you may be able to cover a VOLUNTEER NEEDED shift we would love to hear from you.

We will need a little extra cover for the exhibition as it crosses two rooms, so please so continue to give us as much notice as possible with regards to your holidays and summer commitments.

We are trying very hard to extend our team (especially at weekends ) so if you do know someone who is thinking of Volunteering or you believe would enjoy it please send them our way.

During the exhibition run we will be hosting a very special Canaletto weekender from Friday 24 - Sunday 26 July. The weekend will include two late night openings featuring live music and lecture. A study day on the Friday. With lots for people to get involved in and of course eat throughout the day.

We would of course love your help with this event as we are hoping for lots and lots of visitors.
Please do get in touch if you are able to help, we would love to hear from you.
We are really excited about our summer plans and hope that you are too.

Canaletto: Celebrating Britain: Volunteer Training
Wednesday 24 June 2.30pm OR
Thursday 25 June 10.30am
With Amina Wright (Senior Curator)

Senior curator Amina Wright will be giving you all a full insight to our summer exhibition, Canaletto: Celebrating Britain. 

This training lecture will give you the information you will need to pass on to our eager Visitors. 

You will need to choose either the 24 or 25 June to attend. It is the same lecture on both days so you only need attend 1 lecture.

Please RSVP to Volunteers@holburne.org or let your duty manager know on shift which training session on which date you will be attending

Thank you so much everyone.

Volunteer Summer Party 2015 Friday 12 June 6.30pm

We hope that you are all looking forward to this years summer party! 

We are praying for a lovely summers evening just like last year.

The evening will be accompanied by live music with a Jazz band and Josh will also be taking to the stage to serenade you all.

Back by popular demand is the Great Volunteer Bake Off. If you would like to enter please let Spencer know, along with the cake that you will be baking.

Please do RSVP as soon as you can to Volunteers@holburne.org or by letting your duty manager know on shift. 

Thank you so much

Dear Volunteers,

It has been a challenging time recently, particularly with the early closure of ‘Gwen John to Lucian Freud’.  This should have been the cause of anxiety, but instead has simply increased my pride in working at the Holburne. From tactfully explaining the situation, to placating disappointment with tempting descriptions of the treasures permanently on display, I have seen nothing but professionalism as the whole team pulled together. Times like these make us stronger, and I am immensely grateful to you for your patience and loyalty.

As the roof is fixed above our heads, we can celebrate the future! We have a fantastic few months ahead with Canaletto and Laura Ellen Bacon and numerous events including the first ever min-festival at the Holburne with the ‘Canaletto Weekender’ (24-26 July – please put it in your diaries and spread the word).

We need your help to ensure our visitors get the most out of summer at the Holburne, but I hope you’ll also have time to come to some of the talks and concerts, to get lost in Canaletto’s outstanding artworks, and to enjoy every moment you spend at this extraordinary Museum.

As I near my first anniversary, I feel completely at home here, due to your generosity and kindness.
Thank you,
Jennifer Scott, Director
27 May 2015

De Brief Feedback

Thank you all so much for taking part in the new de briefs that we have introduced at the end of each shift. 

We would like some feedback as to whether you think these are useful to you or not. 

We have found them incredibly valuable as it finishes off your shift very well and allows us to act upon things that may have gone wrong or enable us to get more information to you all on particular things that you have been asked time and time again.

All your suggestions have been fantastic. As you know we are a very small team so some things that may need fixing may take longer than others. Please be assured that everything is noted and looked at.

In the interim many of you have pointed that on our Ramsay paintings in the Picture Gallery that Allan Ramsay is spelt Allen Ramsay. Although this is on the frame of the paintings it is in fact our spelling of Allan that is correct on the label text.

When we were given the paintings by Ernest Cook in 1955 these plaques were already on the frames and therefore we are unable to remove them.

Events Help

We are still looking for help for our Friends Private View on the 26 June as well as a familiarisation visits in the evening on 29 June and 7 July.

These events are all really important to the Museum and if you are able to help out stewarding galleries we would love to hear from you

Thank you all so much

Busy Volunteers

There is lots going on over the next few months not just here at the Museum but all over the place. 

Here are just a few things that our Volunteers/Staff are involved in outside the Holburne walls 

Some of you may not know but Duty Manager Ben Hill also has a placement at the British Museum. 
As part of this placement Ben has been working on the exhibition Indigenous Australia, Enduring Civilization. 

You can view more by clicking the link below 
British Museum  

Volunteer Carole Tonge will also be opening an exhibition very soon
Carole's exhibition of contemporary prints will open at 44AD Art Space, 4 Abbey Green on the 9 June and will run until 14 June 

To view some of Carole's work click the link below 

Volunteer Suzanne Campbell Jones has just announced another screening of her film 'Of Oozies and Elephants' 

A fascinating film from Burma with Q & A from filmmakers Suzanne & Simon Campbell-Jones
Charity Screening in aid of the bells of Cheltenham Minster
at the Bacon Theatre Cheltenham
on Friday  12th June at 7.30 pm
Tickets from www.bacontheatre.co.uk
 or 01242 258002 or team@bacontheatre.co.uk
If you order a ticket now it is £8.00 but after 22nd May it will be £10.
More info on the film at www.ooziesandelephants.co.uk

Monday, 25 May 2015

This Weeks Training Cancelled

Hello Everyone
I hope you are enjoying your bank holiday weekend?
I am have some sad news for you all.
Catrin has been unwell this last week and therefore we are going to have to postpone her talk
Pottery v’s Porcelain
Wednesday 27 May 6.30pm
Catrin sends her deepest apologies and assures you all that we are looking at finding another date for this training session in the near future.
Don’t forget if you have not yet RSVP’d to the summer party 12 June please do so as soon as you can
Thank you so much
Kind Regards

Friday, 1 May 2015

News and Rota (May / June)

Hello Everyone
Summer is fast approaching and so are some really  exciting things for the Holburne.
Our current exhibition, Gwen John to Lucian Freud: Home and the World. Dexter Dalwood Selects from the Swindon Collection has now closed. We will then start preparing for our summer blockbuster, 
Canaletto: Celebrating Britain.  

We are expecting this exhibition to be very busy. 

For the first time the exhibition will stretch over two galleries (The Roper and the Wirth) so please do expect some changes on the 2nd floor. Don’t worry just yet how this will work, its all under control.

In the meantime if you know of any impending holiday dates throughout the summer please do get in touch as soon as possible as we will need to ensure full cover on every single shift to help support this exhibition.
We will also be hosting a Canaletto weekender from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 July. This will feature a study day, lectures, activities , late night openings and music. (more details in article further down) 

From the 1st June a group of volunteers will helping install an incredible site specific installation, ‘Murmuration’ a new work by Laura Ellen Bacon. Laura will be leading this group of Volunteers to create a breath taking willow sculpture on the front of the building. We are still looking for more help. If you are interested in helping please come and talk to us.

On the next rota the Exhibition will be closed so we have educed the numbers of volunteers in on shift. Therefore please do read all the weeks to ensure you are aware of when you are needed. Thank you

We are all really looking forward to the summer and can not wait to share it all with you.

You can view the rotas by clicking here

Thank you all so much for your continued hard work and support, we could not do all of this without you
Spencer, Steven, Josh and Charlie

Next Training Session (MAY)

Pottery v’s Porcelain
with Catrin Jones (Curator of Decorative Arts)

Join Catrin as she delves into our vast collection of pottery and porcelain. This fascinating talk will give you more insight into our collection and give you more confidence in talking to our visitors.

Please make sure you RSVP to volunteers@holburne.org as soon as possible or let your duty manager know on your next shift.

      Picture by Joshua Lewis Michael 


Some of you would have already taken part in our de briefs at the end of each shift. We have introduced these from a  suggestion made from some Volunteers. We would like to trial them for a while to see how we can best make them work.

The de brief should be seen as a way of you being able to feedback at the end of every shift on the following

· Difficulties you may have faced on shift
· Questions you perhaps were unable to answer
· Gaps in interpretation tools
· Questions you may have about the collection / exhibitions
· Good news stories.

We are really hoping that this will only go towards improving communication between all of us and help in moving things along in a much better way.

We do not want them to last to long as we do not want to hold you all up but would really appreciate you all taking part.
If you do need to shoot off straight after your shift, please let your duty manager know so we do not wait for you.
Its also important that you feedback as to whether you think these are working or not

Thank you so much everyone.   


We are very excited that we will be opening our amazing Summer exhibition, Canaletto: Celebrating Britain on Saturday 27th June.
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.

For the first time our special exhibition will span over 2 galleries (The Roper and The Wirth) We are really excited to stretch the exhibition over the top floor in this way and it will offer our visitors an extended experience that they will not have had before here at the Holburne.

Due to the logistics of this exhibition we will be moving our ticket desk across the 2nd floor to the wall outside Wirth Gallery. It is really important that we have a full compliment of stewards for this exhibition at all times. Therefore please ensure you give us as much notice as possible if you are not going to be able to make your shift. This especially applies to weekends as this will be our busiest time.

If you are perhaps in a position to make the offer of an extra shift during the weekends for this exhibition we would love to hear from you.

News on training for this exhibition will be issued very soon. We really hope that you are looking forward to this exhibition as much as we are.

Canaletto (1967-1768). A View of Walton Bridge, 1754, oil on canvas. By permission of the trustees of Dulwich Picture gallery, London


We are nominating the Holburne for the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Award (deadline 10 May). Kids in Museums is a movement that started years ago when a Guardian journalist, Dea Birkett , was thrown out of the Royal Academy  when her toddler shouted 'Monster' at a statue! 

As part of the Bath Museums Partnership, we have been aiming to meet all the requirements of the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Manifesto. This takes into account everything from the welcome at Reception to toilet facilities and the cafe. It is judged on the visitor experience not on special events.

If we get shortlisted, we will be visited by Mystery Family Shoppers so it is absolutely essential that you are all  aware of this so that you can continue to engage each family that walks through the door at the same high standard you have been delivering.  The most important thing is that families receive a warm welcome and are told of all the activities available:

For example the activities in the Sackler Centre, the activity Drawers in the Collection galleries, our trails and Activity bags ,
Trails. Lets also not forget under 16 going free in to all our paid for exhibitions. 

If you interact with a family that are having a wonderful time please do ask if they would be comfortable in leaving a quote for us at the information desk. Who knows it may go a long way in helping us reach this fantastic accolade.
If you would like to learn more about Kids in Museums there is a link to their website below

Thank you so much everybody