We hope that the information below will cover most things you might be wondering about, but please get in touch if you have any further questions.
Joy Todd, Head of Volunteering
Caroline Moreau, Volunteer Engagement Officer
Billy Courtney, Volunteer Service Assistant
The Ashmolean also has its own Volunteer Manager, Ruth Farnan, who works alongside the GLAM Volunteer Service.
GLAM Volunteer Service
Museum of Natural History
People volunteer for all sorts of reasons. Here are just a few:
- it's the next step up from visiting
- it's an opportunity to meet like-minded people and feel part of the community
- it's a supportive setting in which to build confidence, knowledge, and skills
- it's a chance to do something different
- it's fun!
- it's a great way of gaining experience for your CV
- the 'feel good factor': it's the support of volunteers that makes many of our activities possible!
The expected time commitment varies. There is no minimum commitment for helping with ad hoc activities. However, many roles involve volunteers helping once every few weeks or giving a regular amount of time per week or month.
Firstly, you don't need to be an expert in anything - it’s your passion we’re after!
If you're interested in helping with public-facing roles, you will need to enjoy meeting people, have a sense of fun, and care about providing a great service to our visitors.
If you're interested in helping behind the scenes, then knowledge or enthusiasm for a particular subject can be an advantage. Attention to detail and a methodical approach are often also important.
That depends on what you’re interested in and whether you’ve applied for something before. However, because we have to do various bits of paperwork before you can get involved (references, ID check, etc.), it’s best to allow at least a few weeks. Please bear this in mind if you are only in Oxford for a short amount of time. For more information, see our Getting Started page.
No! One of the great things about being in Oxford is that so many people living, studying, or visiting here are from other countries. Many of our volunteers are international. For some, volunteering is a way to practise and improve their English. It’s also great when volunteers can speak to visitors in other languages!
The Volunteer Service can provide a reference for anyone who has volunteered at a minimum of 3 events, but obviously the more you volunteer, the better we will get to know you and the more we will be able to say! We can also provide a certificate confirming that you have been a volunteer and for how long.
Volunteers who help as part of a specific team or project should discuss the possibility of a reference directly with their supervisor.
In addition to some role-specific training, the Volunteer Service also organises introductions to different GLAM sites, departments, and collections and runs various other sessions, e.g. ‘Planning Your Own Activity’ and 'Why Family Friendly?', throughout the year. These are advertised via the mailing list on an as-and-when basis.
If your role requires specific extra training, e.g. manual handling, safeguarding, customer service, your supervisor will organise this for you.
The short answer is ‘yes’ (up to £5 per session, upon receipt of your ticket), but how you go about it varies depending on the role. Please speak to the Volunteer Service or your supervisor for more information.
Also, please note that, in accordance with University Policy, volunteers are not entitled to shop and café discounts, free exhibition entry, etc. However, we hope that we are very good at plying volunteers with free tea and biscuits, organising volunteer parties, and smiling and saying thank you!
There is no upper age limit for volunteering, but you must be at least 16 to get involved. If you are under 18, you can help at ad hoc family friendly events and at some other events, but many roles will not be open to you. We will also need to get parental/guardian consent prior to you starting. This is partly due to insurance and partly due to safeguarding.
Only if they're at the same time! We know that volunteers often want to learn or try new things. Many volunteers take on several different roles at the same time, whilst others enjoy doing one role for a while before moving on to something else. Equally, you are free to stick with just one specific GLAM site or dip in and out of helping at all or any of them – it’s up to you!
Give us a ring on 01865 282456 or stop by our office in the Museum of Natural History and we will be happy to discuss practicalities. However, please note that all of our regular communication is via email.
Please visit the Getting Here page for a map of the GLAM sites and access information.
You can find our Privacy Notice at: https://www.glam.ox.ac.uk/privacy-notice-volunteer-mailing-list