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

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

News and Rota Now online (Oct/Nov)

Hello all! 

I hope this newsletter is finding you well. It’s finally coming to the end of summer and the cosy jumper and raincoats season is slowly starting to creep upon us. I thought it best to start my first newsletter to you all reflecting on the exciting summer we have had.

The Visitor services and commercial operations department have been through a big change this summer with a sad goodbye to Steven Vodli and a big hello to the fantastic Hannah Jenkins. The structure of Charlie’s and my own jobs has had added responsibilities too and we are both starting to feel more settled and confident to deliver outstanding leadership and lots more exciting this to the museum.

Canaletto has been a huge success, both with the visitors feedback, the volunteer feedback and finically – and we still have just under a month left before it closes! So congratulations on maintaining the enthusiasm for such a long running exhibition, I’m starting to feel a real sense of unity in the effort with engaging with the public whilst in the Roper gallery, this also goes for the other galleries as well.

There have been many challenges with this exhibition and our department have been really impressed with the level of professionalism that has arisen when difficult situation can happen. Notably the amount of offers we have had for this exhibition.

You can find your new rotas by clicking the link below or at the Volunteer Rota page on the right hand side 

The next training session is Monday 28th September 2.30pm it’s about our British Paintings and it will be led by Amina Wright if you have not signed up yet please let a Duty manager know on shift of via email. There is also going to be something special revealed in this talk that the Amina has been working on recently.

From the 5th of October Howard will begin de-installing the Canaletto exhibition and giving the Roper gallery its seasonal change for the Gold exhibition to be installed mid-October, ready for its opening date of Saturday 24th October. This exhibition will be running until Sunday 24th January 2016.

Training for this Exhibition will be led by the original curator of the Royal Collection exhibition and our Director Jennifer Scott on Friday 23rd October with two day time sessions (10.30am & 2.30pm) to sign up to. The Duty Mangers will start to mention this in briefings in the next couple of weeks.
22nd October – Gold Exhibition Private View (6pm-8.30pm)
23rd October – Friends Gold Private View (6pm – 8.30pm)

Also please keep checking the Rotas to see if you can fill in any gaps with VOLUNTEER NEEDED.
Reminder: from the 5th October we will be closing the Roper Gallery during De-install/install …meaning that our Volunteer numbers for three weeks will be halved, so please check if you are on the Rota for those days.

Thank you for all your help, I’m feeling very proud to call you my team.
All the best,
Josh, Charlie, Hannah, Ben and Spencer.

All Change in the Ballroom

The lovely French Bacchus and Ariadne hanging in the Ballroom will be leaving us on 1st October for a conservation studio in Bristol.  It is in very fragile condition and needs re-lining and major repairs to the paint surface, which is quite badly damaged in places.  Woodmansterne, the greeting card company, has awarded the Holburne a very generous grant under its Conservation Awards scheme, which will enable us to carry out this urgent work.  We hope to have finished and to have the painting back in the Ballroom next spring.

To replace it, we have selected a Dutch narrative painting, a
Mary Magdalene by Rembrandt's pupil Jan van Staveren (1613/14 - 1669) [SEE RIGHT]

Don Look Now

The new updated edition of Don McCullin's biography will be out soon, featuring Charlotte Sorapure's beautiful portrait on the cover:

Friday, 21 August 2015

News and Rota Now Online September / October

I hope that this news letter finds you all well. Firstly a big thank you to all of you who have been helping fill gaps over the summer period. This has been much appreciated and I know that your hard work and commitment has also been noted by our swathes of   visitors who have been enjoying our Canaletto  exhibition.

Many of you will be pleased to hear that some of our Dutch paintings in the collection galleries will be glazed in the next few weeks. This will go a long way in keeping them safe in this very busy period.

Its been a busy time for us since Stevens departure with Charlie and Spencer driving forward with all our Weddings and events and now the official hand over is beginning with Joshua as he begins to take on the role of Volunteer  Co-Ordinator. Joshua is really excited to be taking this on so please do email him with any of your queries, questions, rota changes etc at j.michael@holburne.org. You can of course still use the main volunteers email volunteers@holburne.org which he will also pick up.

You can view your rotas here 

 We can not thank you enough for your hard work and patience during this period.
Canaletto is going from strength to strength with visitor numbers and ticket sales exceeding targets each week. Its such a nice buzz in the museum. It can be very tiring so gain thank you for informing and enthusing our visitors daily.

We re start our Volunteer training after the summer starting with a lecture from Amina (See below) we have lots planned for the Autumn so watch this space.

Thank you all so much

Spencer, Joshua, Charlie and Ben

Volunteer Training Lecture

Monday 28 September 2.30pm
With Amina Wright Senior Curator
British Painting in the 18C

Between 1700 and 1840, art in Britain was transformed: at the beginning of the century, most artists came from abroad and catered to conservative and provincial tastes, but by the end of the Georgian period, British art was admired and imitated throughout Europe. 

This short survey explains how such a Golden Age came about.

If you would like to join us for this Volunteer training lecture please RSVP to volunteers@holburne.org or by letting your duty manager know on your next shift.

Please note that car parking passes can not be issued for training. We only have 10 and these passes are only ever for use for volunteer that are on shift on that day.

Hello to our new Duty Manager

I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting the news of who our new duty manager will be.
After a tough application and interview process we can now announce that Hannah Jenkins will be joining our team as a full time duty manager on 1 September.

Hannah comes to us from a strong management and operations background and has also been a volunteer at the Museum.

We are all really excited to introduce Hannah to you all in due course.
Hannah said:
'I'm really excited to be supporting Spencer, Joshua, Charlie, Ben and all the team at The Holburne. It's a real privilege to be given the opportunity to join the duty management team and can not wait to get stuck in”

I am sure you will all join us in making Hannah feel welcome.
Her training period starts on 1 September

A Big Holburne Welcome to Sophie Bristol

Hello Everyone

I'm delighted to be joining the Holburne team as Adult Learning Officer. It is now my responsibility to programme and  co-ordinate a range of opportunities for adult members of the public to engage with the museum's exciting temporary exhibitions and with the wealth of fascinating objects which form the permanent collection.

These learning activities and events will include practical and creative workshops, lectures and music concerts. With a background in art history and an insatiable curiosity about culture in general, I am thrilled to be working in the Learning department at the Holburne, which enables people of all backgrounds to connect with the vast cultural heritage protected and promoted by the museum.

Three weeks into post, I am already aware of the tremendous contribution and support provided by volunteers at the Holburne, and look forward to meeting many more of you over the coming months.
Speak to you soon


Coming Soon to the Roper Gallery

Our Autumn/Winter exhibition is set to dazzle and shimmer all through the Christmas period.

Gold: An exhibition from the Royal Collection opens on 24 October and will run right the way through 24 January 2016.

This exhibition explores the enduring beauty and symbolism of gold through a selection 60 exquisite works of art from the Royal Collection. Dating from the Early Bronze Age to the 20th century, these objects tell a story about the art of working this precious material, and the importance of gold to the representation of spirituality, power and status.

3 reasons for visiting this exhibition
· Includes striking decorative arts objects and paintings from as early as 1700-1500 BC (the Rillaton cup) to Fabergé
· Shows how gold has been used by craftsmen over centuries, from bookbinders to jewellers
· Opportunity to see extraordinary objects from the Royal Collection

Gold includes objects from every section of the Royal Collection, ranging from the Rillaton Cup, an extraordinarily rare survival from the Bronze age, created and worked from a single sheet of gold to William Nicholson’s exquisite still-life painting of a lustrous gold jug painted in the 1930s as part of a series exploring the effects of light on metallic surfaces.

We are really excited to be sharing this exhibition with you and all of our visitors and can not think of a better exhibition to get everyone in the festive mood.

Bronze Art Award.

Some of you will have noticed a few willow sculptures appearing in our Garden over the last week or two. These creations were made by our teenagers who took part in the Bronze art Award.  To achieve Bronze, a Level 1 award on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), young people take part in an arts activity they enjoy, go to an arts event, research their arts inspiration and share their skills with others.

We are really proud that we are able to deliver this award here at the Museum and offer this amazing opportunity to young people. 

The teenagers have now finished but we hope the sculptures that take inspiration from Laura Ellen Bacons work will be with us until the end of the month


We are continuing to grow our audiences for our monthly UP LATE where the Museum and exhibitions stay open until 9pm and we offer special deals on the exhibition and in the Garden café. 

We are looking for Volunteers to help steward at our next one on Friday 28 August 5pm - 9pm. If you think you could help please email volunteers@holburne.org or let your duty manager know on shift. Thank you.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

News and Rota for August

I hope this finds you all very well. I am writing this edition of the newsletter on the very day that Steven is saying farewell to the Holburne for Pastures new. Over the last 4 years Steven has been at the heart of everything we do at the Museum and will leave a huge gap in our team. His new adventures are both exciting and inspiring and although we are sad to see him move on, we wish him nothing but success, happiness and good fortune for him and his family in their new life in Switzerland .

Thank you all so much for all your work on our Canaletto exhibition. During our opening weeks we have seen more than 1800 people visit both the Roper and Wirth galleries to see Canaletto’s stunning paintings. Thank you so much for making everyone so welcome and informed.

 Its definitely the summer holiday season at the Museum with many of you escaping to warmer climbs or seeing family and friends. This of course has left us incredibly short, especially at the weekends. If any of you could perhaps have another look at the rotas to see if you would be able to help out with an extra shift or two we would be eternally grateful. 

Thank you.

Some of you may have noticed a new member of the Holburne Staff team. Sophie Bristol has joined us as our new Adult Learning officer. Sophie has spent the last week taking in everything at the Holburne and getting to grips with her new role . Once she has settled and absorbed everything I am sure she will introduce herself to you all.

Keep up all the great work guys, Trip Advisor has been jam packed with glowing comments about you all. Long may that continue.

Thank you all so much
Take care
Spencer, Joshua, Charlie, Ben and for the final time
Steven xx 

Dear Volunteers,

I’d like to say thank you for all of you for being so nice, welcoming, considerate, patient and so amazingly      lovely. It’s been quite a journey for me here at the Holburne and you made it a really enjoyable experience.

This Museum is not just a building, but a community, and the very foundations of this community is every   single one of you.  The Museum builds upon your commitment, passion and your desire to give your very best self, creating an unforgettable experience to all of our visitors who walks through the doors every day,   regardless whether it rains or shines.

I feel that my time to start afresh has come so I decided to move on. I think I’ve learnt my lesson that this     amazing organisation was meant to teach me. With that knowledge in my bag I can get on with my life adventure somewhere else. Wherever that might be I hope I can also have a positive impact on people’s life by giving them all the love I received here from all of you.

I didn’t get around to all of you saying goodbye in person, even though I tried, but I don’t really want to say good bye anyway.
Let it be a see you next time instead, whenever that might be
I wish all of you the very best of luck and please keep up with the good work. This lovely Museum needs your support.
I see you soon


New Roles

As you now know both Joshua and Charlie will be taking on extra responsibilities within their roles. 

In addition to Duty Managing (building security, visitor satisfaction, visitor and collection security/safety, database management, training, events and workshop set up and take down, event management, the running of the building on a daily basis and managing the day to day of the volunteers) they will also be working on larger scale projects. 

Joshua will be taking on a large chunk of Volunteer Co-ordination. Day to day this may be seen as working on rotas writing/compiling the  newsletter and arranging volunteer training lectures, however the development of the Volunteer programme is much more far reaching than that. 

Just a few examples of what Joshua will be working on in the next few weeks will include: 
Volunteer recruitment, working with both Bath Spa University and Corsham School with our student volunteers, lecturing for Bath Spa University Heritage in context programme and strengthening our volunteer induction process. In addition Joshua will be one of 6 people who have been invited to sit on the South West Federation of Museums, Volunteer Forum steering group.

Charlie will be taking on our Weddings and Venue hire which continues to grow and develop. Charlie will be meeting clients, selling the building and venue hire packages. Liaising with our catering teams, planning and managing all venue hire events and helping drive forward this  incredibly vital part of the Museum’s commercial operation. 

Both these roles are vital to the resilience of the Museum and we are so pleased to have been able to offer them both new opportunities. There is a lot to do and Spencer will be spending a lot of time with them both to ensure that they are confident and happy within their new roles. 
In addition a new Duty Manager will be joining us in the next few weeks. The interviews will be taking place on 30 July. 

Ben has decided to remain as our freelance duty manager and will be assisting with the training of the new member of our team. 

We are all really excited about the way in which we are moving forward. I know that you will all support Joshua and Charlie throughout this period of change and development  

Pulled Tight and Gleaming

This month Amina Wright (Senior Curator) has  brought to our attention a section from an article in the latest issue of ‘Textile History’ magazine.

The article entitled “ Pulled Tight and Gleaming: The stocking’s position within eighteenth-Century Masculinity” examines the cultural significance of the stocking as a n essential accessory of an eighteenth-century man’s attire. One of the articles focus points is on a painting that is very familiar to us all. Thomas Gainsborough’s Robert Craggs Nugent. 

A small section from the article reads:

Here we witness a gentleman convey­ing an image of genteel, upper-class masculinity, to which the exhibition of his calves, in tight-fitting white stockings, played a vital role. The portrait depicts Robert Craggs Nugent, later Earl Nugent, with one arm over the back of the chair, holding his tri-corner hat, and the other holding his leg, crossed over his knee, inviting the viewer into the pictorial space. His cross-legged posture profiles his muscular right calf, portly in comparison to the straight, thin wooden leg of the chair. Nugent’s   well-formed calf, shown off by the tightly fitting white silk stocking, seems to shine on the canvas. We can see from a letter written twenty years earlier that Nugent took pride in his legs and was likewise complimented on them. On 20 June 1741 Lord Chesterfield wrote to Nu­gent, warning his friend that with the onset of old age, ‘those Athletick calves will one day shrink and dwindle into the tremulous supports of a nodding superstructure’. In Gainsborough’s 1761 portrait his calves, which were once so admired, were forever memorialised in an idealised form.
The full article will be available for you to read in the tea house very soon 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Looking for a New Duty Manager

Hi All 

We are looking to recruit a new full time duty manager. 
See the link below for more details 


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