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, 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

Thursday, 23 April 2015

New interpretation in the Collections Galleries

This Friday 24 April 2015 there will be some changes to the Posnett and Fletcher Galleries. New labels and panels will help create a clearer message about the content of the galleries and guide visitors on how to navigate the spaces, for instance by improving signage to encourage people to explore the Fletcher Gallery on the mezzanine level.

Looking again at the graphics for these galleries allowed us to resolve several issues we felt needed looking at. The low-level panels in the Posnett Gallery were hard to read, with lots of blank space, and had become quite scuffed.
The new approach for the Posnett Gallery means that visitors are introduced to William Holburne and his sisters before they enter the gallery. There is a much clearer message about the fact that this building was not Holburne’s house, and that the galleries recreate the quirky Victorian clutter of Cavendish Crescent.

The new low-level panels explore the different zones of Holburne’s home and the objects that were displayed there, with the labels laid out in a clearer way and more clearly linked to what you can see in front of you. A new panel at the back looks at the history of Sydney Gardens, so visitors can read it and then look out onto the gardens.

We took on board all your comments about legibility – the text on the new panels is much larger, and we have also raised the height of the low-level panels so they will be both easier to read and more effective barriers.

Creating new graphics has allowed us to use images differently. Holburne sits at the top of the new Posnett Gallery panel, reminding us why the museum is here in the first place. A fantastic photo from Bath in Time of his home at Cavendish Crescent, taken in 1890, gives us an idea what his home looked like in the 19th century. And if you look closely at the photo you will find a surprise…a prize to the first to spot it! The new Fletcher gallery panels show beautiful details from the Loggon fan and the Witcombe Cabinet.

These improvements are designed to complement and build on the existing interpretation in these galleries. As volunteer stewards one of your key roles in the Posnett and Fletcher Galleries is helping visitors realise how much they can discover – whether that’s opening drawers and cupboards; discovering the ‘What’s it made of?’ drawer and other interactives; reading the large-print label books for more information about specific objects; or using the magnifying glasses to look closer.

This project has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England, who has helped the Holburne in many ways to interpret the collections, through the interactive, the welcome leaflet and of course support for projects like this one. Still to come: new label panels for the Witcombe Cabinet. We are also working on redesigning the large-print label books. Watch this space!

We hope you find that the new labels and graphics make the galleries easier to engage with for both new and previous visitors.

The voyage of the Susini Crouching Venus to Venice

The Holburne Museum is lending one of its masterpieces to an exciting upcoming exhibition. The small-scale bronze will be travelling to Venice to be exhibited alongside a group of masterpieces of Italian Renaissance sculpture. It will be on show in the Ca’ Corner della Regina, an 18th-century Venetian palace overlooking the Grand Canal, as part of an exhibition at the Prada Foundation called ‘Portable Classics: Ancient Greece to Modern Europe’. The exhibition brings together works of art on loan from the British Museum, the Royal Collection, and many Italian collections including the Bargello in Florence.

The Susini bronze will be shown alongside a Venus by the Florentine sculptor Giambologna from Museo del Bargello and a Venus by Antico from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, in a section of the exhibition exploring the origins and functions of miniature reproductions of iconic classical sculptures famous from antiquity to the Renaissance. The exhibition means that the Holburne’s Crouching Venus, cast by Susini after a model by his master Giambologna, will be shown alongside the work of Giambologna himself.

The Susini bronze will return to the galleries at the Holburne Museum in September 2015 after its voyage to Venice.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

News and Rota's Now Online (April / May)

Hello Everyone
I hope this finds you all well. Spring is most definitely in the air and we hope that you are enjoying our new exhibitions throughout the Museum.

If you missed Catrin’s training lecture on our Nicholas Rena exhibition or would like to listen to it again, it is now available on the Volunteer Blog on the Volunteer Lectures Online page.
You can listen to it by clicking at the link below

As part of the Museums contemporary programme we have a very exciting project coming up in June with artist Laura Ellen Bacon. The project will allow Volunteers to work alongside Laura as she creates an amazing sculpture on the front of the Museum. More details can be found in this newsletter.

I hope that you have all had the chance to welcome Charlie to the team. We have heard that Georgie is doing well and enjoying London and we enjoyed a brief visit from Faunsia this week. Both pass on their best wishes.
The café manager Annalisa is leaving us and is going to work at the English National Opera in London running their bars and restaurants. Alessio who has been working in the Garden café for 2 years will be taking over as Manager form 1 April. I am sure that you will all join us in wishing her well.

Thank you all so much for baring with us during the maintenance in the Picture Gallery. There is more news on what is happening in this edition of the newsletter.

Thank you to those of you who have been feeding back about interpretation tools in the galleries. We are finding this all very helpful and would love to hear from more of you when you get the chance. If possible by 10 April?  

Gwen John to Lucian Freud is doing brilliantly , thank you all so much for helping our visitors in the Roper Gallery.
Thank you all so much for all your continued support and hard work, it means so much to us. Please keep your feedback coming its really important to us

Your new rota is now online and can be viewed by clicking the link below

Thank you so much, see you all soon

Spencer, Steven, Josh and Charlie

Next Volunteer Training Session 23 April 6.30pm with Jennifer Scott

Still Life with Jennifer Scott (Director)

Join the Director Jennifer Scott as she talks through the Museums collection of still life paintings.

This lecture aims give you more knowledge on these paintings so that you are able to speak more confidently in your Volunteer role. 

To attend this training lecture please RSVP to volunteers@holburne.org  or by letting your duty manager know about your attendance on your next shift 

New Portrait Hang for April

Thank you all for your patience over the next few weeks while the Picture Gallery is closed.  We are looking forward to opening a refreshed and better-lit gallery to our visitors at the end of April.

Although removing all the paintings from the gallery to our secure on-site storage is never easy, it does mean we can hang them in different positions when they return.  Using our amazing new virtual gallery software Exhibita Pro, we can easily see what different combinations of paintings will look like on our walls and experiment with new hangs, ensuring everything is in the right place long before anyone picks up a drill.

The new hang will look quite different in places, and we hope you like the changes.  John- Laurent Mosnier’s portrait of Lord Nugent’s grandson (see image), which has been in store since 2008, will be back on display for a few months.  It replaces the Stubbs, which will be leaving us for a short break in Lincoln.  It will be one of several works by Stubbs in Lincolnshire’s Great Exhibition, a celebration of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.  The exhibition will be on show from June 27 to September 27 at various sites in Lincoln, including the Usher Gallery.  Like the Holburne, the Usher was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield in a neo-Georgian style, so if you are anywhere near Lincoln this summer do take the opportunity to visit; you will feel very much at home in Blomfield’s building.

While the Brownsword Gallery is closed, please remind visitors that they can see images and label texts for all the paintings online at   http://collections.holburne.org/themes/brownsword-gallery. 

They can also see a selection of them on the interactive screen in the Sackler Centre

Amazing Opportunity for you to work with a Contemporary Artist

At the end of June we will be unveiling an amazing new art work on the front of the building by contemporary artist Laura Ellen Bacon.

Laura Ellen Bacon is a British artist who lives and works in Derbyshire.

Her sculptures are most often created on site, in both landscape and cityscape settings that have included, Chatsworth; Somerset House, London and New Art Centre at Roche Court. Laura's work is also created for interior settings, from private interiors to gallery spaces including, the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich (2011), the Jerwood Space, London (2010) and The Saatchi Gallery, London for 'Collect' (2013).

During her project here at the Holburne Museum, Laura is offering a group of Volunteers to get involved on the creation of this new work. This is an amazing opportunity for volunteers who would find this type of experience not only rewarding but also invaluable for their future careers. The opportunity is open to anyone who wishes to be involved. You will need to be available from 1 June until 25 June and be able to offer as much time as possible during that period (although this will not depict whether you are involved or not). There will be a rota created  specifically for this. If you feel you can commit to this project full training will be given so you will need to ensure that you are able to commit.

For those who would like to witness the creation of an artwork, we hope this will be a rewarding project. 
The creation will be quite repetitive but the scale of the artwork is rather ambitious, so volunteers may be inspired by their chance to assist to this large-scale artwork

The essential daily task will be to create a series of willow ‘panels’ that will be fitted into the outline and density of the artworks.  Each ‘panel’ is made by looping and tying the willow together, which forms a 2D panel of looped, knotted willow.  These 2D panels are accumulated and curved into a 3D form.

The task will be largely quite repetitive but each panel can be tailored to fit each specific area of the artwork, so volunteers will usually have a good sense of the area of the artwork that they are working on.

Other activities will include speaking to the public (as Laura will largely be up a scaffold) and keeping the working area and the visitor areas clean and tidy.

Laura will continuously monitor what volunteers are doing and provide training as and when required, this is a  fantastic opportunity and  it would give Volunteers a greater sense of involvement and take the pressure off Laura’s time enormously

To find out more information and talk through the project in more detail please book an appointment with Spencer as soon as possible at s.hancock@holburne.org

This is an amazing opportunity to work very closely with an amazing contemporary artist. This will really suit so many of you that want to get involved in more of the museums work.
I really hope to hear from you all soon

Images of Laura’s previous works

Holburne History Book

In the 1990s Holburne staff published a very useful little booklet with  various articles on the history of the Holburne, including a short description of the Crafts Study Centre. 

 As almost every copy seems to have vanished (no doubt    eaten by the same creature that eats all our nice pens,        scissors etc), one of our volunteers, Lorraine Devlin has kindly scanned it so that you can all read it at your leisure. 
Do read it if you haven't as it is our best published source of information on the history of the museum and Holburne    family.

Two copies have been left in the teahouse for you to read, however if you would like to be emailed your own copy please just ask Spencer and he will send it across. We will also ensure that we will insert copies in to the Volunteer Gallery Guides for you.

Access and Engagement Strategy and Sharing Day

Last month five Volunteers went along to Family Friendly training days as organised by the Bath Museums Partnership. Although advertised as Family Friendly training it was really about the broader engagement of our visitors.
On 20 April you have been invited to attend a sharing afternoon at Museum of Bath Architecture (previously Building of Bath Collection)
During this practical and lively session we will be looking at some of the techniques shared by Crew Training and also the things that were learnt by the Volunteers who attended the initial sessions.
The training takes place
Monday 27 April 1.30pm
Museum of Bath Architecture.

To attend you will need to RSVP to Spencer at s.hancock@holburne.org by 17 April 1pm

Gaps and Holidays

With the Bank Holiday and Summer season fast approaching can we ask that you get all your holiday dates to us as soon as you can. We have received lots recently (thank you so much for the heads up). 

If you do see any gaps on the online rotas (they appear every two hours or so) please do let us know if you could fill in at any time. Thank you all so much for your continued hard work and support 

Event Stewards Still Needed

We are still looking for Volunteers to help out with some of our evening events, including Up Lates, Museums at Night, lectures etc .
If you would like to come along and help out at anything please check with your duty manager what we are still looking for.
Thank you so much everyone

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Nicholas Rena and Contmeporary Programme Lecture Now Online

Catrin Jones (Curator of Decorative Arts) training lecture on our new exhibition on the Ballroom table is now online 

In addition to this exhibition Catrin also talks through our exciting contemporary programme here at the Holburne 

To listen to the lecture please click on the link below