Museum volunteers earn paid jobs through volunteer work at the Richmond attraction

Poppy Milner, left, and Lois Elder.

Two volunteers have found full-time jobs — and the team at the Green Howards Museum where they helped say they’re happy to see them go!

Lois Elder and Poppy Milner, both from Richmond, have full-time jobs at a museum, but credit the time they spent volunteering at the downtown attraction with giving them the advantage during their interviews.

Lois has already started a new role as a visitors’ assistant at the Bowes Museum, while Poppy is about to head to London to take up a position at the Natural History Museum.

“I’ve spent the last year working on a variety of hands-on tasks, from cataloging and updating records to caring for collectibles in museum stores,” said Lois, a holder of a BA in Classics from the University of Winchester, and an MA in Classics and Ancient History from the University of Newcastle.

“It was fascinating to get a hands-on insight into the management of the Green Howards Museum collection.

“Being able to put these skills, acquired through volunteering, on my CV showed that I was motivated and passionate enough to want to work in the sector, and it was a real talking point during my interview.

“I’m so excited to start my career in museums and heritage and my time at Green Howards certainly helped get my foot in the door.”

Having obtained her bachelor’s degree in geology at the University of Hull, but knowing that she wanted to pursue a profession in museums, Poppy started volunteering just over two years ago to gain practical experience.

She also enrolled in the MA course in Museum Studies at Newcastle University.

“I mainly documented objects from the museum’s collection, my biggest task being to catalog the extensive archival collection relating to the soldier of the Yorkshire Regiment, JS Purvis, which then formed the basis of my final masters project” , said Poppy, who admits she spent much of her interview for the role of acting assistant curator, now at the Natural History Museum, talking about Green Howards.

“I loved volunteering at the museum, everyone was so supportive, and I also really enjoyed having the chance to be immersed in a part of history that I didn’t really know or that I thought would be interested. .

“Learning directly through first-hand accounts and object context was truly rewarding, and I’m so happy to now move on to work that incorporates both what I originally studied in college and work in a museum.”

While sad to lose Lois and Poppy’s input, the museum team say they are proud to have worked with the couple and excited to see them begin their new careers.

“Poppy and Lois are both incredibly skilled, but getting started as a new professional in the heritage sector is very difficult, and the challenges facing young people in rural areas like Richmond are immense,” said the collection manager, Zoe. Utley, who looks after a team of 20 volunteers at the Green Howards Museum.

“”We all felt the anguish of waiting for the results of their interviews, but it was worth it in the end.

“To be able to have played a small part in helping them pursue their dreams is just awesome.

“We were lucky to have them and they made a real contribution to the work we do here.

Keith P. Plain