Monthly Archives: September 2019

Herbert Museum

Herbert Museum

Volunteering at Herbert Museum
Volunteers and Projects at the Herbert Museum, Coventry

In November 2019, the volunteers at the Herbert Museum in Coventry will celebrate NINE YEARS of volunteering at the Museum.

During their years at the museum, the Volunteers, Ruth Barton, Anne Haywood, Alex Harris and Shirley Jack, have been involved with a huge variety of projects, ranging from making underskirts for a dress exhibition at Blenheim Palace, mounting samplers, making padded coat hangers, sword covers, parasol covers and even mounting birds for the Natural History section of the museum.

Some of their more unusual projects include creating backdrop curtains for the Santa Sleigh ride at the Transport Museum and protective saddle covers for the bicycles. Dusting and cleaning the moth collection was a task that required an extremely light touch and a certain amount of newly learned expertise.

Ongoing volunteer work at the Museum involves checking, repacking and data recording all the boxes of items in the costume store. This is a fascinating occupation as each set of boxes reveals a treasure trove of history. Some of the items however seem very recently familiar to the ‘mature’ members of the group!

The museum caters for younger visitors and the team has made many items to support the Sensory Story sessions. Props for these include 150 Morse Code bean bags, a Hungry Caterpillar and a starry night illuminated sky blanket.

Lately they have been meeting again with the Transport Museum’s Christmas Sleigh ride team to plan new ‘elf’ costumes for the staff helpers on the ride. The time frame is small but if Santa can do the impossible then so can they!

Leamington Spa Museum

Leamington Spa Museum

Leamington Spa Museum volunteers
Leamington Spa Museum volunteers

Our Volunteers have been working at the Museum since 2004, and, of the six original volunteers, two are still regular members.

Here’s what they have been doing over the past couple of years in their own words.

2018 – We began the year with a new project.  In the store, there were many boxes of Victorian fashion plates requiring cataloguing.  We began by sorting them into categories: accessories, men’s fashions, women’s fashions and children’s fashions.

Each one required an accession number, a description of the scene and a photograph taking of it.  These would take a considerable amount of time and it was decided they would be revisited in between other projects.

In March, we were involved in the preparation of a quilt for an exhibition on WW11, to be held at the Art Gallery in the autumn.  We were asked to design the quilt to cover a small hospital-style bed, similar to the ones which volunteers would have made for the recuperating soldiers during the war.

Our design had a central red cross on a white circular background, set on a dark blue fabric, incorporating the colours of the Union Jack.  The corners had smaller red crosses and the borders were made from strips of flowered and patterned materials resembling chintz.  The quilt was machined and the crosses handstitched. 

In September, we began another project.  Three banners were requiring repacking for storage on large cardboard rollers which were hung on cords.  In addition, some smaller items were stored in a similar manner – a silk scarf designed by Terry Frost in 1993 for the Tate Gallery, a Napoleonic commemorative scarf and a tablecloth commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

In November, we had a visit from our new Chairman,  Shaun Pitt and Anne Flower, our HV Co-ordinator, when Lily explained about the work our group had been doing.  She had some examples of the shawls and scarves we had recently repacked on rollers.  The quilt was also on display in the exhibition.

2019 – This year we have only attended between January and March, when we were helping Sally prepare craft boxes for distribution to local schools and tracing pictures from paintings which were reproduced as colouring sheets for children.  There is a likelihood of a new project in October.

Short – Eastbourne – Spring 2022

Spring 2022 – Eastbourne

Having had to postpone in 2020 due to Covid-19, we are hoping to re-instate this short break to East Sussex in Spring 2022.

Staying at the prestigious 5 star Grand Hotel, we will explore the rich centuries of art in the home counties, including The Charleston Trust famous for the Bloomsbury Group, the world of the Tudors at Penshurst Place and Hever Castle. 

Enjoy The National Trust’s most important art collections at Petworth House and much more.

Update – August 2019

A very warm welcome to a new year at The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa – your Society. I very much hope that you enjoyed the summer (with a bit of luck it may be that we still have some summer to go!) and managed to dodge the worst of the wind and rain!

The strap line for the national Arts Society is ‘We inspire, we do, we give’ and, as one of the largest and most active of the societies in the UK, we plan to do just that in our society. We will aim to ‘inspire’ you through the lecture programme, the day visits, the days of special interest and the short breaks; enable you to ‘do’ through our volunteering work and ‘give’ through the various donations that we make over the year to a variety of worthy causes and organisations.

Members have been sent your hard copy of the programme card for the 2019/ 20 season which sets out the lecture programme for the year. I hope you will agree that it looks like another outstanding programme which I hope you will enjoy; if, for any reason, you do not receive your programme card please let the membership secretary know.

Our first lecture is on Wednesday 4th September and, hopefully,  I may have the opportunity to see you and/or meet you there.
If you are planning to come to that lecture there are two matters I should make you aware of:

If on arrival at the Spa Centre, you think there has been a change in our secretary from Margot Radomska to Keith Roberts, please do not be concerned – Margot will be away on her annual visit to friends and family in Poland and Keith is standing in for her at that lecture; normal service will be resumed for the October, and subsequent, lectures.

The ‘click in’ process that we adopted last year to register you when you attend a lecture has proved very efficient and has substantially reduced pre-lecture congestion in the downstairs lobby area. Accordingly, we will continue with that process with one small change; previously your name and membership number were on your programme card and so the majority of members showed that to register their attendance. For this year you will see that your name and membership number are not on the programme card but are on your national membership card and so it is that card that you will need to bring with you for each lecture you attend; if you forget to do so then you will need to register at the desk as before.

The membership desk will still be manned to deal with guests, visitors or any membership related enquires that you may have.

Your programme card also has details of the planned day visits, days of special interest and short breaks and when tickets for these are on sale. It also has details of other events that are planned for the 2019/20 year such as the new members coffee morning (Thursday 10th October 2019), the Leamington Music concert (Friday 18th October 2019) and the biennial dinner at Wroxall Abbey (Saturday 20th June 2020).

If other events arise during the year, I will, of course, let you know about these both in my newsletters and updates and in my announcements before the lectures.

If you have told us that you are happy to receive communications from us by email then you will receive this letter, a brief synopsis of each of the lectures planned for the 2019/20 season and an up to date copy of the guidance notes for members by that means; if not, the synopsis and guidance notes will posted in hard copy form.

I very much hope that you enjoy as much as possible of what is planned for 2019/20.

If there is anything that you want to discuss or if you have any queries or concerns, please do contact either me or any other member of the Committee.

Best wishes,

Shaun Pitt