How we work with volunteers

Have you been on a tour in Reading Museum or the Abbey Quarter recently? If you have, then your tour was  led by one of our trained volunteer tour guides.

Reading Museum has led a well-established, successful volunteering programme over many years. As part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project, we have taken on more than 100 volunteers since January 2017 to help us deliver a range of activities. 

The volunteer roles we've offered have been varied and wide-ranging including:

  • helping research and add Abbey-related object information to our public catalogues
  • assisting staff at public events and with family activities, including the re-opening of the Abbey Ruins on Saturday 16 June 2018
  • providing tours at Reading Museum and the Reading Abbey Quarter
  • creating replica historical costumes
  • acting 'in character' as costumed interpreters
  • garden volunteers to help develop our Abbey Gateway herb garden

We work with a number of young people, including university students, who volunteer to improve their career prospects. The Abbey volunteering programme has developed more opportunities, for people of all ages, and new, innovative ways to encourage people from across Reading to get involved.

How to find out about new volunteer opportunities

Reading Museum advertises new volunteer roles on its own website, social media sites and through Reading Voluntary Action

Anyone interested in applying for a role is asked to complete a registration form and read our volunteer policy. The full process is explained on Reading Museum's website under Get Involved. We use the role descriptions to assess applications and invite people in for informal interviews as part of our recruitment process.

Short-term paid placements

During the project, Reading Museum is offering a small number of paid placements to develop heritage and professional work skills. All of our previous Abbey interns have gone on to secure employment, some at heritage organisations.

Over the past two years we have taken on six paid placements to help us on a wide range of projects:

  • to help the museum make better use of social media
  • add information about Reading Abbey artefacts to our online catalogue
  • create information for the Reading Abbey Quarter exhibition
  • help us develop our retail offer and research potential Abbey-related merchandise
  • set up a community research project with volunteers
  • support our Abbey on Wheels outreach programme

We are not planning to take on any further short term paid placements at present. When we are recruiting, we flag up vacancies on Reading Museum's social media sites and advertised jobs through Reading Borough Council on the Jobs Go Public website.

Friends of Reading Abbey

The Friends aim to aid the preservation of the ruins of the abbey for the enjoyment of all, and to spread knowledge and public awareness of its history. You can find out more and how to join on the Friends of Reading Abbey website.