As a recent University History graduate I started to volunteer at the Coffin Works as part of the Conservation Team. My main partner in this role was someone I already knew from my time volunteering at the Birmingham Back to Backs, Francis Shrianne. Francis became a mentor to me and other volunteers who joined us through my year at the Coffin Works. To the point where he even created a booklet for us.
I learnt about good practice in handling museum collections and cleaning them as well as pest control. I also helped conserve a number of drop stamps, two large metal rulers with Renascences Wax, Biox and specialist brushes. In addition, I also learnt how to understand and take environmental readings and conditions. A large part this was the collation of data completed by myself, Nicola and Francis into Excel. Additionally, a few times I worked front-of-house and learnt about the various reasons for engagement with the museum from family connections and industrial enthusiasts, as well as learning how to manage the till.
My biggest takeaway however is the importance of volunteers in such places. The managers of the site are the ones that get people through the door and volunteers provide the welcoming smiles on their behalf. This was an honour to do, for Sarah and Josie who are clearly devoted to the site. The appreciation they have for the volunteers is shown by their continued support of us and endless encouragement, something I received endless amounts of. I am finishing at the Coffin Works as a postgraduate only stopping to focus to the future. Thank you for a worthwhile and welcoming experience and I WILL be back for more!!!!!!