Sudbury Hall NT

Sudbury Hall NT

A volunteer’s perspective

We’ve got a guest blogger today! Liz, one of our Collections Volunteers, has very kindly written today’s post. Following on from my post last week about the variety of volunteers we have, I thought it would be nice to hear directly from one of our volunteers about what they get up to while volunteering with our collections! Here’s what Liz has got to say…


I’m letting Rose have a break from blogging (not from cataloguing), to tell you a little about why I volunteer. Basically I became a volunteer at Sudbury after being interviewed for a Marketing Internship, which resulted in me being offered the chance to volunteer with the museum collection. I didn’t realise that the opportunity was there for me to work with the collections if I was to volunteer with the Trust, which is why I came at things a little back-to-front.

As Rose said in her last post, I’m helping with different collection based jobs in order to gain some additional experience to help me get a job in the heritage sector and to help out the team in the process. Here at Sudbury I’ve had the chance to see, well, the good, the bad and the unusual in the collection – at least for me.

The Good

I’ve had the chance to work with experts who have been brought in to help review an aspect of the museum collection. Through this I’ve seen some of the beautiful items of clothing housed in the museum’s stores, that won’t necessarily make it out onto display. I’ve seen intricate Victorian wedding dresses and simple maid’s aprons, as well as coming across shoes, handbags and accessories. I know it seems a little ‘girly’, but the quality of these outfits and the care that went into making them is astounding.

The Bad

It may seem silly, especially helping out at the Museum of Childhood, but I have a phobia of mannequins. My friends, when I told them I was to help look over and check a collection of marionettes for damage, laughed as they know how scared they make me (I have been known to leave a room, or at least take a wide berth). I however managed it – though I probably should say I took notes and didn’t touch them but its all about baby steps right? I may even go as far as to say there were a couple of ‘cute’ ones in the collection, but some did freak me out a little.

A rabbit marionette from the play ‘Hansel and Gretel’


A jester marionette



































The Unusual

Most of my time volunteering is spent helping Rose with the collections database. Doing this means I’m not always ‘hands on’ with the collection but it does mean I get the chance to see what objects are in the collection. I’ve come across dolls of different shapes and sizes, not to mention a great deal of finely-detailed doll’s clothing and doll’s house furnishings. I’ve seen teddy bears, building blocks and model railway sets, not to mention toy cars, tea sets and lantern slides. I’ve seen objects that I remember playing with and I’ve seen objects that have been well loved. Suffice it to say this collection is big, and to try and pick out any unusual objects is causing me a bit of difficulty. That said, I did come across a stereoscope and slides not so long ago, which made me stop and wonder what one was (I discovered it was used to see 3D images).

A late 19th century stereoscope


19th Century stereoscope slides


























Comments are closed.

About this Sponsor

Content to follow...