Volunteers sought to highlight Island’s heritage

Carisbrooke Castle Museum is appealing for volunteers to help share the history of the Isle of Wight with visitors at the museum and with local people out in the community.

The museum, run by an independent charitable trust and set within the English Heritage managed castle, was founded in 1898 by Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, as a memorial to her husband Prince Henry of Battenberg. Beatrice said: “It is my earnest hope and desire, with the help and co-operation of others, I may be able to form a full collection of objects of historical interest connected with the Island”.

The museum collections still reflect Beatrice’s wish and the mission of the museum is to collect and record the history of the people of the Isle of Wight and make it accessible to all. The collection, acquired over the last 120 years and now totalling over 34,000 objects, includes applied art, fine art, photography, social history, science and technology, archaeology and archives, and covers local history topics from prehistory to the present day.

In 2017 volunteers at the museum were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK, celebrating the work done by these groups in their own communities. With a new season approaching the museum is keen to recruit new volunteers to join its Visitor Welcome and Outreach teams.

Volunteers are vital in welcoming visitors to the museum. One current volunteer explains: “I have lived a ten-minute walk from the Castle for more than 30 years and joined the museum volunteer team about 10 years ago. Not only am I interested in the castle and its royal connections, but I also enjoy meeting people. To volunteer gives me the
opportunity to talk to visitors from all parts of the world and tell them a bit about out museum, its history and exhibits. I feel privileged to volunteer in such a historic environment.”

Carisbrooke Castle Museum also shares its collections with a broad range of audiences and the local community through its outreach service. Volunteers take boxes of 20th century museum objects to care homes and other groups. The objects can all be handled and have been chosen to spark memories and stimulate conversation. The participants enjoy the opportunity to tell stories from their past lives and the volunteers enjoy learning from them.

Volunteering can offer a great opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people, doing something worthwhile in your spare time with just a few hours making a big difference to the museum and its work. If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering at the museum you can call 523112 or email info@carisbrookecastlemuseum.org.uk.