Holburne Volunteers

Welcome to the Holburne Museum's Volunteer web page.

Due to popular demand we are briniging our Volunteers this page to keep you all up to date with all that is going on at the Holburne.

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, 28 July 2014

News and rota now online

We hope you are all well? How amazing is this weather? 

We have another packed programme this summer which includes the return of Colourscape, Cinema Under the stars and a very special addition to the Picture Gallery. We still have Tessa Farmers “Unwelcome Visitors” which will run      throughout the school holidays and we have just announced that during the summer Under 16’s go FREE into the Julian Opie exhibition.
 Our new Director Jennifer Scott will be joining us on the 18th August and we are all really excited to get to know her and welcome her to our team. 

Due to the summer holidays we are finding ourselves  a little short (especially at the weekends)  so please keep an eye on the rotas and if you are able to spare a few extra hours we will be eternally grateful.
We will be looking to recruit another 40 Volunteers into the core team before the end of September, so you can look forward to welcoming some new faces and making some new friends.
We have a packed schedule of training events for you all starting again in September and news of this will be posted in the next newsletter
Please check the latest rota by clicking on the link below 
Thank you all so much for everything, you are all doing such a great job.

Spencer, Steven, Georgie and Josh

Friday, 25 July 2014

Ballroom table matts

After many years and lots and lots of our visitors asking for them, we have finally reproduced the table matts that you find on our Ballroom Table 

These are now available in our shop! 

Goodbye for now.....

Time is hurtling on (it does that) and it is now a matter of weeks before I say goodbye to the Holburne, with my last day on August 8th. I have had nine exceptionally happy years here and …

There are many things I am proud of that we have achieved at the Museum but the volunteer team and programme is unquestionably one of them, not that I would want to claim any credit for your success. I am constantly in awe of the time, care,  dedication and passion that you all bring into the Museum every day which is inevitably communicated to our visitors. None of you have to be here and I am enormously grateful that so many of you chose to be so. I don’t know how many of you waste time looking at the reviews we get from random visitors on Tripadvisor but it makes             instructive reading. Not everything there is positive (although I have to say most of it is) but the one thing that comes through loud and clear is just how welcoming, informative and helpful our volunteers are – not that everyone knows you are volunteers. In the comments below, taken from the last few months of reviews you are often assumed to be ‘staff’ and variously promoted to ‘curators’, Americanised as ‘docents’ and one of you is described as a ‘minder’ (I have my suspicions):

‘Several informative curators who made us feel welcome and helped us get more from what we were looking at’; ’and the   volunteers are some of the best that I have ever met’; ‘The staff/volunteers are enthusiastic and assed further information if asked’ ‘staff are friendly’; ‘staff friendly and informative’; ‘the staff are very sweet and attentive’; ‘great loos and friendly and knowledgeable staff’; ‘the docents were very helpful and friendly’; ‘friendly and knowledgeable volunteers in every room’; ‘very friendly staff’; ‘staff was very nice and welcoming and helpful’; ’there was a very knowledgeable ‘minder’ in the gallery who pointed out things I had missed in some of the paintings’; The staff: Mostly volunteers who were very enthusiastic and I can almost say excited about the possibilities of this gallery’
And so it goes on.

All I can say is thank you for all you do for the Museum and for contributing so much to the enjoyment of those who come here and perhaps as importantly, those who work here. I shall miss the Holburne, I shall miss all of you, but I know I leave the Museum in very good hands and look forward to seeing (from a little distance) what happens next.


The Plank (or Europe at war: A hidden record)

A very unusual object is just about to go on display in the Picture Gallery : a simple plank of wood with pencil markings made by builders working at the Holburne a century ago. It was quite common for carpenters to leave a message for posterity with their names, the date, and a casual observation. What is striking about this inscription is that the three men were working in the museum building just as the First World War broke out. Their message is particularly resonant with the centenary of the outbreak of war this year.

They wrote:
“France Servia Montenegrins English Japan Russia
at war with Germany and Austria August 1914
W. Black G. H. Nation J. Pearce (carpenters)
for Hayward & Wooster Builders ”

The message they left would be discovered in 2009 during the museum's redevelopment project. Records show that the three carpenters had come to Bath for work, but were too old for conscription. You can imagine them discussing the situation - including who was on which side. Russia was listed first with Germany and Austria before being crossed out and added to the list of allies. The message William Black, George Nation and Joseph Pearce left would remain undiscovered until 2009 during the museum's redevelopment project.    The plank survived thanks to the efforts of the more recent builders removing the cladding, who carefully saved the plank before it was taken down to the archive. The plank will be displayed in the Picture Gallery, where it was originally part of the wall cladding, until the end of the year.

Thank you to Faunsia (who researched the carpenters) and Dan Brown (who found the amazing postcard of soldiers outside the Holburne in 1915) for their contributions!

Invite a Friend?

Do you really enjoy Volunteering at the Museum? Would you recommend Volunteering to a Friend? If the answer is yes then why not suggest just that. 

The Holburne needs to recruit 40 new Volunteers into its core gallery Steward team by the end of September this year. We will of course be using all our usual advertising avenues but we would love to hear from you if you know of someone that may enjoy Volunteering with us. If you do please request a volunteer application form from Spencer or ask them to contact Spencer directly at

Cinema Under the Stars

This year see’s the return of Cinema Under the Stars in our back Garden. This has always been a very popular event and we are really excited that the Little Theatre Cinema has chosen our grounds one again. The films that will be shown are as follows

Friday 29 August Moulin Rouge
Saturday 30 August James Bond: SKYFALL
Sunday 31 August The Ladykillers

We are looking for Volunteers to come along on the evenings and help steward. The gates will open to the public at 7pm and the films are due to start at 8.30pm. If you would like to come and help please do get in touch as soon as possible 

Could you give the Development team one hour of your week?

We cannot survive without the volunteers who, from time to time, help out in our busy office.  I am looking for a reliable volunteer to regularly give an hour or two a week from September to help me keep on top of valuable data entry in connection with our Gift Aid. Knowledge of databases is required and I will give you some additional training on what to do.

If you are interested email me at 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, Development Officer.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

New News and Rota online July / August

Hi Everyone. 

Summer has finally arrived!
We all really hope that you enjoyed the Volunteer Party on the 6 June. It was a great evening. Thank you to all that       entered the Great British Volunteer Bake off. Congratulations to long standing Volunteers Undine Concannon, Trish Tassis,   Jennifer Bereska and Neil Kennedy who were all presented with Outstanding Contribution Awards.
Steven has just returned form a 2 week break and Spencer, Georgie and Josh are all looking forward to well earned breaks this summer. Not before we have delivered numerous summer parties, weddings and corporate events, phew!
Spencer has been working with the curatorial team to put together an exciting training and lecture series for you for the rest of the year and the first part of 2015. Watch this space for more details.
There will be another change in the Wirth Gallery over the Summer (see below) and preparations are under way for our autumn/winter programme.
You can view your new rota by clicking the link below 
Your hard work and commitment as always overwhelms us, thank you for everything you do for the Museum.
See You soon
Spencer, Steven, Georgie and Josh

Edouart Scissor Hands: Silhouette Likenesses by an Ingenious Artist

12 July to 12 October: The Wirth Gallery

In July we will be welcoming another exciting exhibition into the Wirth Gallery

This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the Holburne’s  collection of portraits by the French silhouettecutter Augustin Edouart (1789–1861). The realism and detail of Edouart’s full-length characters, simply cut out of black paper “by scissors alone”, is remarkable. The exhibition will include some of his finest and most famous silhouettes.

Colourscape Returns

Colourscape has been part of our imaginative  Summer landscape for the past two seasons and we are delighted to welcome back the festival. The inflatable Moonorooni that fills the Museum’s front lawn has been so successful because it offers a unique colour drenching experience that is a sensory delight for all ages. Don’t miss the opportunity to soak up some pure colour this summer.

If you are new to Volunteering this is a great experience that we urge you all to try out.

Saturday 16 to Monday 25 August 2014

"Unwelcome Visitors” Wowing our Summer Audience

We hope that most of you will have enjoyed our new installation by Tessa Farmer in both the Collection and Mezzainine galleries.

A huge amount of work went into installing this exhibition and we would like to thank Volunteers, Helen Hood, Ben Hill, Liam Wiseman and Hattie Lamb who all worked alongside Tessa and Decorative Arts Curator Catrin Jones. They spent a lot of time with the tiny fairies and beasts, sometimes up until 11.15pm at night.

I am sure you will all agree that their hard work has paid off and we now have a truly incredible installation.

As you will have seen, some of the pieces are quite fragile. Therefore we ask that visitors do not touch or blow any of the creatures. It is of course very tempting but we am confident that you will all manage those situations perfectly.  Please encourage people to take pictures with their phones and upload them to Twitter and Facebook. This exhibition is too good not to shout about

Laura's Place 44AD

44AD artspace would like to invite you to Laura’s Place, an exhibition of fresh new artworks - in a diverse range of media, featuring painting, film, ceramics, jewellery, sculpture and 1,777 badges!

Over 50 artists responded to an 18th century portrait from The Holburne Museum Collection. The painting is of Henrietta Laura Pulteney, 1777, by Angelica Kauffmann.

The subject known as Laura, was the 1st (and last) Countess of Bath. Laura was responsible for developing much of eastern Bath, giving her name to Henrietta Gardens, Pulteney Bridge, Great Pulteney Street and Laura Place.

The curators, Katie O’Brien and Melissa Wraxall wanted to find a painting which would have a strong connection with the history of Bath, to inspire new twenty-first century artworks for their fundraising exhibition. They are enormously grateful to the Senior Curator of the Holburne Museum, Amina Wright, who has been enormously helpful and supportive of their project.  
And, special thanks of course to all the participating artists! There are some fantastic artworks for sale, with proceeds in aid of 44AD’s move (Aug 2014) to their new premises in Bath’s CityCentre. 


Exhibition Continues: 27 June – 6 July 2014
Our Very own Duty Manager Josh has submitted a Multi media piece for the exhibition so please do go along to support

Director Up Dates

We just wanted to keep you all updated on the Holburne’s Arrival and Departures board.
Xa’s will be leaving us at the end of the first week in August and our new Director Jennifer Scott’s first official day will be the 18 August. Jennifer will be around during July for a hand over period with Xa and I am sure she will say “Hello” when she is in the building


Looking Ahead

It feels slightly bonkers to start talking about the Autumn when we have just began to enjoy the lovely summer weather. However as you are all aware the Holburne just would not be the Holburne unless we kept charging ahead with new and exciting things to keep you and our visitors engaged and enthralled.

Spencer has met with Catrin and Amina and they have put together an exciting and packed programme of training lectures and events for you all. Details of these will be posted soon. The programme reflects all the feedback we received from the Volunteer questionnaire earlier in the year so we hope that you enjoy it and are able to learn lots to pass on to all of our visitors

Holburne Up Late

Our new series of Up Late events is doing really well and bringing a new audience into the building. These events will take place on the last Friday of every month where our galleries will stay open until 9pm with live music in the Garden café and pop up events all over the Museum.

For these events to survive we really need your support. If you would like to Volunteer at any of our UP LATES this year please contact Spencer at s.hancock@holburne.org for more details. Or let your Duty Manager know on shift.

For more Information about these Up Late events please check out our FACEBOOK page by clicking the link below 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Summer Party Friday 6 June

Hi All 

Here are the Pictures from last Fridays Volunteer Summer Party 
It was a lovely evening. Thank you all fro coming and making it such fun. 

Friday, 30 May 2014

New News and Rota now On Line

Hi Everyone. 

I hope this edition of the Newsletter finds you well.
We are all really looking forward to the Volunteer Party on Friday 6 June. I hope that you can attend and that you have RSVP’d.
Julian Opie has now opened and In its first weekend we saw an amazing number of people viewing it (150 on the Sunday alone) We hope that you are enjoying it too. For those of you who missed Xa’s training lecture you can listen to it at the here at the Volunteer BLOG.(see news item below)  If you were unable to come and do not have access to a computer please speak to Spencer and he can set it up for you to listen too in one of the offices. 

The Opie exhibition has attracted some amazing press with articles already gone out in both the Guardian and the FT.

 Summer is fast approaching and I can confirm that  Colourscape will be back on our front lawn towards the end of August.

It has now been announced that Jennifer Scott from the Royal Collection will be taking over from Xa as director at the end of August. We are all really excited about this and as soon as she arrives we will be booking a moment in her diary for you all to meet her. 

The Friends of the Holburne had incredible success with their annual plant sell taking well over £1000!
We have 2 new exhibitions opening very soon. Tessa Farmers  Unwelcome Visitors will open in the Collection Galleries on the 14 June and Striking a Pose: Gesture in Theatrical Portraits will open in the Wirth on 7 June.
Thank you all so much for all your continued hard work and commitment  you al do such an amazing job!
See you at your Party on the 6th 
You can view the rotas by CLICKING HERE

Spencer, Steven, Georgie and Josh