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, 27 February 2015

News and Rota now online for March

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are well? On Saturday 28 February we say a very fond farewell to Duty Manager Georgie. Although her party was on the 27th she worked her last shift just as we opened our brand new exhibition. Gwen John to Lucian Freud: Home and the World.

I know that the question on all your lips is “who will be replacing Georgie”. I can now let you all know that we will be joined by Charlie Kippax full time from the beginning of March.

Charlie is very familiar with the Museum as she studied her heritage in context module here at the Holburne. She comes with a wealth of experience and is a duty manager in a      number of venues across Bath including Burdells yard, The Michael Tippett Centre and the Commons. 

We are really excited to have Charlie come and join the team. I am sure you will all make her very welcome

Returning to our new exhibition there are a few things that we need to make you aware of.
Inside the gallery we have one piece which is called “The Box That Never Closes”. When we have visitors in the gallery this piece must be stewarded at all times. No one must touch the piece and we are contract bound that we will have a Volunteer with it at all times when  we have visitors in the gallery. Your Duty Manager will talk you all through this on your shift. In addition we also have a small hand out guide for the exhibition. These must only be given or be taken by ticket buyers. We do not have an unlimited supply. You can hand one over with tickets sales at the front desk or at the exhibition ticket desk when you sell a ticket.

There will also be gallery copies which must remain inside the gallery.

The new rota is now up and you can view it at the link below. 

If you missed the training lecture, this will be uploaded on the Volunteer blog so you can listen to it, next week.

Thank you so much for everything, you are doing an amazing job.

Spencer, Steven, Josh, and Georgie x

Nicholas Rena Exhibition & Volunteer Training

On Saturday 21 March we open our new exhibition on the Ballroom table. Nicholas Rena has created an installation of entirely new work for the Holburne’s Ballroom table, a series of monumental bowls. Orderly yet vigorous, these colourful vessels are painted and waxed to a flawless finish. The compelling sculptural forms evoke both the ceramics of Lucie Rie and still-lifes by Matisse.

Playing on the Ballroom setting, ‘with its astonishing quality of light and its rich historical resonances,’ Rena’s work explores the colours and tones of the European tradition from maiolica to painting.

Rena trained as an architect with Eric Parry, and subsequently began working with ceramics. ‘My architectural background has been a perspective in my work, a consideration and preoccupation with space.’ His solidly architectural ceramic forms recall highly polished marble. The large vessels are first moulded into their precise shapes, slowly dried out and sanded before being fired. This is the second of five contemporary interventions at the Holburne supported by Arts Council England.

We are really  excited about this exhibition, the colours are so vibrant.
Catrin (Curator of Decorative Arts) will be giving a lecture that will include this exhibition and will also introduce our future exhibitions on Monday 23 March 2.30pm.

If you can come along to this you will need to RSVP to your Duty Manager on Shift or by emailing volunteers@holburne.org


Hey All

I would like to say a final farewell and a huge thank you to you all. It has been an absolute privilege getting to working with you all over the last 3 and a half years, both as a co-volunteer and duty manager. 

Being able to work with such wonderful people is why I come to work and I do truly believe that you are the heart of the museum. I want to thank you for your time and dedication to the museum, without you all we wouldn’t be able to have this amazing collection available to the public. 

You have also made my time here an absolute pleasure! I wish you all the best and I will definitely be popping back in to see you all and the upcoming exhibitions soon.

With Love,
Georgie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

New Exhibition for the Wirth

Opening 14 March
The Observer Observed: A Portrait of Don McCullin
The Wirth Gallery

This spring the Holburne unveils its latest painting by a winner of the Holburne Portrait Prize, Charlotte Sorapure. Her subject is the renowned photographer Don McCullin CBE, who is celebrating his 80th Birthday this year. 

Her compelling portrait will be displayed in the Wirth Gallery alongside some of McCullin’s own melancholy landscape images, and a new photographic portrait of Sorapure herself.

We now have 6 portraits in our collection from Portrait Prize winners. We do not have any immediate plans for another Portrait prize this year or next but it is something that we have always cherished and it will certainly be thought about and discussed in our future planning meetings.

Easter Eggstravaganza!!!!!!!!!

Come and help the Learning department deliver a fun day of activities at our free Easter Eggstravaganza event on Sunday 29th March.

We need lots of volunteers to help with delivering a day of Honey I shrunk the Museum! where parents and children will be able to explore the Holburne's collection and have fun creating miniature masterpieces including matchbox museums, bug boxes, Shrinkies, Postcard miniatures, mini-me egg roll and more.

This is a very popular event with a lot of people visiting so please expect to be busy! We need volunteers 11.15am - 4.30pm but you will get a break!!

If you'd like to help please contact Vanessa
v.wells@holburne.org or call 01225 388568

Tea House Key

We have had a few little hiccups with the teahouse key over the last few weeks so we just wanted to take the opportunity to go over how we should be using them.

Please never leave the keys on the table if there is no volunteer in the tea house. The key should never be left unless given to the next volunteer who follows you in.

Please check if Sally, Pauline or Steve are in the accounts office before you leave the tea house. If they have popped out please do lock the teahouse as they all carry a key to get back in. never leave the tea house unlocked if there is no one in there.

Thank you everyone. 

Picture Gallery Closing for Essential Works

As some of you know we have been having a lot problems with the large blinds on the domes in the Picture Gallery. We are finally in a position to sort these problems out.

All three blinds will need to be replaced which will also mean taking down all the plaster and cornicing around the domes. Therefore the entire gallery will need to be emptied and the gallery closed. The Gallery will be closed from Wednesday 25 March until Saturday 25 April. 

During the closeure it is important that we still have a volunteer on the top floor letting people understand why the gallery is closed and where to find information on the paintings elsewhere in the Museum. Therefore we will not be reducing duties on the rota.

This work is essential for the safety and preservation of our collection. 

Thank you

Things to remember about our new exhibition

We are all really excited about the opening of our new exhibition this weekend 
Gwen John to Lucian Freud: Home and the World: Dexter Dalwood selects from the Swindon Collection 

We will be presenting 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.

32 paintings and drawings by, among others, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Howard Hodgkin, Richard Hamilton, Graham Sutherland and John Nash, are deftly linked by the theme of ‘home’ and ‘the world’. Domestic stability is pitched against artistic innovation with exciting results.

Reasons to Visit the Exhibition 

  • Paintings and work by Britain’s best known modern artists.

  • The works have been selected and arranged by the celebrated contemporary artist Dexter Dalwood.Part of Frameworks: Great Art of the West.

  •  This is one of a number of shows in the area looking at modern British art.
Is there a brochure or publication  

Yes there is a free Leaflet (free with exhibition ticket only) to showcase Dexter Dalwood’s 1,500 word essay on ‘Home and the World’.  The reverse also includes images of the paintings in the show. This should only be given to ticket holders as we do not have an unlimited stock 

Protecting the art work 

Inside the Roper gallery we do have one piece that we have been asked is stewarded at all times when there are visitors in the gallery. 

The piece is a sculpture called The Box that Never Closes by Michael Craig Martin. (pictured right)  It is very important that people to do touch or knock this piece. You will only need to stand with it whilst there are visitors in the gallery 
Please do not ever bring chairs into the gallery  unless you have discussed this with a duty manager first 

The lecture given by Sophie Cummings (Curator at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery) will be available online in the next week 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Mobile Phones Banned

As of today we can no longer allow the use of mobile phones or any mobile devices in the galleries. 

The gallery steward standards have been ignored by 1 or 2 individuals in the last month or so and we 
have no choice but to ask that no mobile devices are to be used. 

Please use the lockers provided on the ground floor to stow your mobile devices on arrival at the Museum. 

We appologise to all of you who have been delivering the gallery steward standards continually at a very high standard 

If due to personal reasons you have to have your phone with you, please do speak to the Duty Manager 

Gallery Steward Standards at the Holburne Museum

  1. To be visible
  1. To acknowledge all visitors on entry with eye contact in a friendly and welcoming way
  1. To inform visitors of what is on display in the gallery you are stationed  
  1. To ask open questions to establish needs
  1. Try to be standing when visitors are in the gallery to ensure they recognise that you are there to help (if you need to sit please do so just inside the entry point as to greet visitors so that they are aware that you are there to help)
  1. To promote the exhibitions by asking if they have seen it or perhaps purchased a ticket
  1. Point out the large print labels in the gallery spaces and encourage people to use them as they are walking around
  1. To be vigilant at all times to ensure the safety of the collection and our exhibitions.
  1. Always arrive on time to ensure that the galleries are stewarded when the public arrive.
  1. Always contact a Duty manager should you need help or need to move away from your post – never leave a space unattended unless previously agreed with your Duty Manager   

New Position at the Museum Available

Marketing Promotions Assistant
The Holburne Museum is seeking a part time Marketing Promotions Assistant.
Report to:                           Head of Communications
Hours per week:              18.75 hours [0.5FTE]
Salary:                                  £18K pro rata
Purpose of the Role:
This is an exciting new role within the Holburne, an award-winning Museum, reporting directly to the Head of Communications. The primary purpose of the role is to assist in the promotion of the Museum’s varied programme of exhibitions and events and maintain the Holburne’s profile in line with the Museum’s objectives and values.
To download the job description and application form, please visit our website at: www.holburne.org/job-vacancies/ (No CVs please; submissions via Application Form only).

Closing date for applications: 5pm Thursday 26 March

Interviews on: Thursday 16 April 2015

Friday, 30 January 2015

News and Rota now online for February

I hope that this all finds you well. 

We have some sad news for the Holburne but some fantastic news for one of our Duty Manager team.

Georgie will be leaving us on 28 February this year as she moves on to London to a wonderful new job as Philatelic Assistant at the British Postal Museum. Georgie started her career here at the Holburne as a Volunteer back in 2011. She then went on to become a freelance duty manager before being made a full time member of our team. We are all really going to miss Georgie but we wish her all the luck in the world in her new position.

We will of course be holding a leaving party for Georgie on Friday 27 February at 5.30pm here in the Garden café. If you would like to come down and wish her well, please RSVP to Spencer or email s.hancock@holburne.org

Georgie’s position is now being advertised and if you would like to apply you can do so by downloading the application and information forms at www.holburne.org from Monday 2 February. The closing date for applications is the 16 February and Interviews will take place on Friday 20 February. 

Our new exhibition opens at the end of this month so the Roper will be closed from 17 - 27 February. Please do check the rota as we do have to reduce the number of volunteers during this period as we would hate for you to be here for no reason.

There is also an addition to our training diary on the 25 February. Scroll down to read more or CLICK HERE

The next rota is now up so please do take a good look at these to avoid any last minute cancellations. 

Plans are underway for our fabulous summer programme. 
Canaletto: Celebrating Britain will open at the end of June as will an incredible outdoor installation by Laura Ellen Bacon. We will be posting up some of her previous work in the tea house so you can get a better understanding of her work. Its going to look amazing.

Nicholas Rena will also be installing his work on the Ballroom table from 21 March. Catrin will be delivering a talk about this on Monday 23 March at 2.30pm so please do sign up for this by letting your Duty manager know on shift or by emailing volunteers@holburne.org

The B&NES Chairman and Community Awards took place on Thursday 29 January. A few lucky Volunteer had the opportunity to go along. We did not win best volunteer team in BANES this year. There was some very stiff competition. You should all be very proud of yourselves for the nomination and all the hard work you do. The Volulnteers that did go along had a good time (see below) 

Thank you for everything you do for us

Spencer, Steven, Georgie and Josh

New Exhibition Volunteer Training

Our training for our next exhibition
Gwen John to Lucian Freud: Home and the World : Dexter Dalwood selects from The Swindon Collection (28 Feb—7 June) will take place on Friday 27 February at 10.30am or 2.30pm.

We will be joined by the Curator from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Sophie Cummings, who will be talking us through this exhibition.

 Home and the World  forms part of the Frameworks partnership of which we are part of. Our exhibition is the largest in an exciting series of redisplays which highlight modern gems in each of the partner museum collections. The series of exhibitions looks at the reality, fantasy, domesticity and foreign lands, place and time, and bodies and stories in modern art. Our partners are: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The Victoria Art Gallery, Swindon Museum & Art Gallery and The Wilson in Cheltenham.

To sign up to a  training slot please email volunteers@holburne.org or let your duty manager know which session you would like to attend on your next shift

Can you help?

Over the next few weeks we have a number of events that we would really appreciated some help with.

As always with every new exhibition we have a number of open evenings. In addition we also have our UP LATE series. See below the dates/times of what we need. Please email Spencer at s.hancock@holburne.org if you can help or let your duty manager know on your next shift. 

Holburne UP LATE
Friday 20 February
4.50pm - 8.30pm
This Up Late will feature a light show in the Garden Café as well as the usual music from 7pm. The galleries will be open so we are looking for gallery stewards.

Gwen John to Lucien Freud Private View
Monday 2 March
5.45pm - 8.30pm
We are looking for gallery stewards, cloakroom help and a welcome team to help with this very busy evening. We usually welcome around 250 people.

Friends Private View
Wednesday 4 March
Gallery stewards are needed to help greet the Friends of the Museum on this evening.

Thank you so much for considering any of these evening events. 

Strike a pose!

Our learning team are busy putting together activities  to go into the Sackler centre as part of our next exhibition.

They are planning to create our own large Holburne interior photo montage to which people can add items from our collection and cut out figures

The montages people can make would be in the style of the below collage by British Pop Artist Richard Hamilton whish will be displayed in the exhibition Gwen John to Lucian Freud: Home and the World

We are looking for 2 or 3 Volunteers who would like to be photographed and become the subjects of this fun activity.

If you would like to be involved please get in touch with Spencer as soon as you can

Learning Department Volunteer Induction Training

Find out more about volunteering for the largest department in the museum - the Learning Department (formerly known as Education).

Please come along (without obligation) on Thursday 26th February and find out more!

Find out about our activities from Saturday Art Club and School Workshops to         
Pre-school activities and Holiday Art Camps not to mention special events such as our Easter Eggstravaganza, Lantern Procession and the Big Draw.

Please contact Vanessa on 01225 388568 or email v.wells@holburne.org if you would like to attend. We look forward to seeing you.

Hello from the Philanthropy Team

Could you give some regular time to work in our office?

We cannot survive without the volunteers who, from time to time, help our busy team.  I am looking for a reliable volunteer to regularly give an hour or two a month to help us do some valuable research. 

Knowledge of Microsoft Word is required.
If you are interested email me on 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,  Membership and Philanthropy Officer

Friday 13 Closed!

The Museum will be closed on Friday 13 March as the staff will all be out on their annual away day. 

If you are usually in on a Friday please make sure that you make a note of this in you diary. Thank you

Thursday, 29 January 2015


All volunteers are welcome to attend free 'Access' training in the Clore Learning Space on Wednesday 25 February, 10.30am -12.30pm.  There will be several speakers from local community organisations who will talk about how to welcome people who may not be regular Museum visitors. Practical approaches will be on offer with the aim of helping you to feel confident in enabling visitors to have an enjoyable and successful visitor experience. This has been organised as part of the Bath Museum's Partnership with Bath Preservation Trust and The American Museum; their staff and volunteers will also have this opportunity at their own sites.

The speakers will be:

Janet Dabbs, Chief Executive of  Age UK, B&NES   
Age UK provides services and support at a national and local level to inspire, enable and support older people. The aim is to promote the wellbeing of all older people in B&NES and to make later life a fulfilling experience.

Ralph Lillywhite, St Mungo's Building Bridges to Wellbeing Manager   
St Mungo's works with people with low to moderate mental health needs in B&NES. The aim is to enable clients to have more independent and fulfilling lives by developing peer support networks and groups.

Philippa Forsey, Manager – Creative Wellbeing Programme, Creativity Works   
Creativity Works supports people's transition from using mental health services to community-based activities, based around the arts and culture, volunteering, employment, education, training, and vocational activities.

Harriet Rose or James Beattie,  Family Play Support Workers, Bath Area Play Project   
BAPP is a local voluntary organisation and registered charity that supports children and families to reduce their social isolation using play as a process of engagement and connection with the whole family.

Places are limited therefore if you would like to attend on the 25 February, please could you RSVP to Spencer as soon as possible at s.hancock@holburne.org or by letting your Duty Manager know on your next shift 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

News and Rota Now On Line January 2015

Happy New Year to you all!

I hope that you are all looking forward to this year as much as we are. As always we have lots planned with a massive 9 temporary exhibitions throughout the year in the Roper, Wirth and Davidson galleries.

There have been a few changes behind the scenes over the last month and with that some job title changes.

Spencer is now Head of Visitor and Commercial Operations and joins the new senior management team. In addition to overseeing the whole front of house operation ,Volunteer programme and driving forward venue hire, he is also now line managing the Shop and its Manager Mari and concentrating on the strategic planning for the Museum.

Steven is now Visitor Services Manager and although Spencer is Head of the department Steven will be directly line managing the Duty Managers and will take on the Museums busy calendar to ensure that smooth running of the day to day of the building. He will continue to deliver all our corporate events and weddings. Finally Duty Manager Josh, contract has been made Full time.

These changes should not impact on you as Spencer will still be managing the Volunteer programme. If you do have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Our new exhibition in the Wirth Gallery: Turner, Watercolours from the West opens on Saturday 11 January. We really hope you enjoy this exhibition. One of the pictures which features Bath Abbey also shows the home of Thomas Gainsborough so please do point this out to our visitors in the Picture Gallery.

The new rota is now online and you can view it by clicking HERE

As a reminder the Holburne Brochure has been reduced in price to just £5. We would really like to see as many visitors as we can using this in the galleries. Please do let them know that they are available to purchase for just £5 and they are jammed packed full of information on our collection.

Thank you all so much for everything. We are really looking forward to working with you all again this year.

See you soon

Spencer, Steven, Georgie and Josh 

Up the Stairs 

Volunteer Training Session
With Amina Wright (Senior Curator) and Suzannah Angelo Sparling (Museum administrator) 
Friday 23 January 2015 : 2.30pm 

I do hope that you will be able to join us for our next training session which will focus on the paintings that line our staircase throughout the Museum.

In addition we will also be looking at how and why we moved our staircase piece by piece across the building during the development. Please do let us know if you are able to join us by emailing volunteers@holburne.org or by letting your Duty Manager know on your next shift.

Chairman of the Council’s Community Awards 2014

This year our submission to BANES Chairman’s Community and Business awards has been accepted and it was announced this week that the Holburne Volunteers have been awarded a nomination for Best Volunteer Team in BANES.

In addition young Volunteer Ben Hill will be joining other young volunteers in the county in the race for Best Young Volunteer in BANES. Ben received a nomination for the hard work and commitment he has shown this year both front of house and with our curatorial department. Well done.

Congratulations to all of you. Your support and hard work is so important to us and you all deserve this accolade so much. We wish you all in luck in the world when the winners are announced on 29 January.

The awards ceremony will take place at the Guildhall and the Holburne was given 6 spaces for our Volunteers to attend.
On Tuesday 6 January 6 names were drawn during the morning volunteer briefing.

The Volunteers joining Ben Hill at the ceremony are
Neil Kennedy, Phoebe Stone, John Green, Sue Clark , Colin Lacey and Andrea Mill Wilson.


Don't make me fry

Among the portraits not currently on display is a fine portrait of a lady by John Michael Wright, who worked at the court of Charles II. 

It used to hang in the old 'Middle Gallery' opposite the windows, in roughly the same position as Wissing's William III in today's Ballroom Gallery. 

Following the redevelopment, we decided not to put it back on display as it has some worrying condition problems.  Late in November I had a visit from the conservator who fully restored the portrait in 1984, and she was very upset to see how badly it had deteriorated since then.  She had spent many hours filling losses in the paint surface, but since then the filler has shrunk and the varnish surrounding it has shattered, leaving flaky white patches all over the picture.

It will cost between £1500 and £2000 to remove and replace the deteriorated filler and varnish.

The damage can only have come about by exposing the paint surface to unacceptably high levels of heat, light or both.  Facing the Ballroom windows, this is very easy to do, simply by failing to control the blinds, particularly when the sun is very strong in high summer or in midwinter, when the sun can set with blinding intensity at the end of Great Pulteney Street. 

Our lovely 17th-century lady suffered long before the museum re-opened in 2011, so nobody here today is to blame.  However, the sun hasn't lost its brightness and the risk to our collections is as great as ever.  Today we all know much more about the effects of sunlight on our skin, and works of art are no less vulnerable. 

So please make it your New Year's Resolution to keep an eye on the weather and lower the blinds whenever necessary.  Don't make our beautiful treasures fry!

Up and Coming Training

Our training for our next exhibition Gwen John to Lucian Freud: Homer and the World : Dexter Dalwood selects from The Swindon Collection (28 Feb—7 June) will take place on Friday 27 February at 10.30am or 2.30pm.

We will be joined by the Curator from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery who will be talking us through this exhibition which forms part of the Frameworks partnership of which we are part of. Our exhibition is the largest in an exciting series of redisplays which highlight modern gems in each of the partner museum collections.

 The series of exhibitions looks at the reality, fantasy, domesticity and foreign lands, place and time, and bodies and stories in modern art. Our partners are: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The Victoria Art Gallery, Swindon Museum & Art Gallery and The Wilson in Cheltenham. To sign up to a  training slot please email volunteers@holburne.org 

Christmas Jumpers raise eyebrows and money

On Friday 12 December Volunteers and Staff at the Museum were encouraged to wear their Christmas jumper to work to help raise money for the Charity Save the Children.

Volunteers raised £66.10 on that day. Thank you to everyone for your generosity and joining in with the fun.

Rowlandson at Large

This month, watch out for five new labels around the galleries, linking the permanent collection with the Rowlandson exhibition.

To remind our visitors how funny and relevant High Spirits is, we will be adding some short captions to various portraits round the museum linked to Rowlandson and his work.  They feature our poster boy and girl, Dr Convex and Lady Concave, and can be found in the Picture Gallery, on the stairs and on two of the drawers in the Collection Gallery from 5 January.