How we work with volunteers

Have you been on a gallery tour at Reading Museum recently? If you have, then your tour was probably led by one of our trained Abbey tour guide volunteers.

Reading Museum has led a well-established, successful volunteering programme over many years. As part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project, we are recruiting at least 35 Abbey volunteers to help us deliver a range of activities leading up to the re-opening of the Abbey Ruins on Saturday 16 June 2018. The voluntary roles are 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
  • providing gallery, Reading Abbey Quarter and Gateway tours
  • creating replica historical costumes
  • acting 'in character' as costumed interpreters

We already 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.