Our Museums

Marking Volunteers' Week 2022

This Volunteers' Week, we thank our some 170 volunteers for the invaluable contribution they make to our museums.

Group of people, all volunteers with National Museums NI, standing on steps out the front of Ulster Museum at a Volunteers' Week 2022 event
Date published
06.01.2022
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2

We held an event at the Ulster Museum to thank and recognise the contribution volunteers bring to National Museums NI. The event took place on Wednesday 1 June to coincide with Volunteers’ Week which runs from 1 – 7 June, 2022, and was attended by volunteers and National Museums NI representatives.

Chief Executive Kathryn Thomson took the opportunity to thank volunteers "for the rich value they bring to National Museums NI."

“Volunteering is a positive experience that brings communities together and creates opportunities to participate in museums in a different way – as well as learning new skills, meeting new people and providing a sense of wellbeing. It enhances the experiences of our visitors as we are giving back to our local communities and demonstrates our commitment to being accessible to everyone.”

Volunteers play an important role across our four museums and they are involved in a variety of projects including research, events and conservation. Emma Gallagher is a Collections Inventory Assistant Volunteer, with a PhD in Geology, and has been volunteering since September 2021.

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Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive of National Museums NI, Emma Gallagher, Volunteer and Helen Connolly Volunteering and Participation Manager at National Museums NI standing together out the front of Ulster Museum
Pictured left to right: Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive of National Museums NI, Emma Gallagher, Volunteer and Helen Connolly Volunteering and Participation Manager at National Museums NI

Speaking about her experience, Emma said: “Having visited the Ulster Museum as a child, I’ve had an interest in museums for many years. Volunteering with the collections allows me to refresh my knowledge, while using the skills I already have to add value to my role.

“My volunteer supervisor, Dr Mike Simms, Senior Curator of Natural Sciences at National Museums NI, is a fount of knowledge and his expertise and guidance has positively impacted my overall experience of volunteering.”

Last year, National Museums NI demonstrated our commitment to volunteering by partnering with The Conservation Volunteers, which saw the charity’s North Down contingent move to the Ulster Folk Museum at Cultra. This programme aims to teach gardening skills, grow produce, help people engage with their community and improve mental health and wellbeing for all those involved.

Helen Connolly, Volunteering and Participation Manager at National Museums NI, said: “We have been strengthening our volunteering offering across our museums and we now engage with up to 170 volunteers each year. This is in addition to our collaboration with The Conservation Volunteers who are instrumental in conserving and preserving the grounds at the Ulster Folk Museum.

“Volunteers play a pivotal role in society – they are offering their time and skills to give back to their local communities. Volunteers’ Week provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the contribution our volunteers make, and say a special thank you to them.”