Supporting Culture Through Volunteering

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Cultural volunteering at a museum, art gallery, library or botanical garden enables you to engage in niche areas of interest. Whether abstract art is your passion or you’re looking to learn about Ancient Egypt or the Victorians, volunteering is an exciting opportunity to kick-start your learning and meet like-minded people to stimulate and challenge you.

As well as following your interests, you should consider how you’d like to get involved – maybe you’d enjoy telling stories and answering questions as a tour guide at museums, or perhaps you’d prefer getting creative by running activities and workshops for schools visiting art galleries. With such a strong cultural heritage, right across the UK there are hundreds of opportunities to get involved near you.

What sort of roles are available?

Tour Guide

If you enjoy interacting and meeting new people, considering adopting a role as a volunteer tour guide. You get to help bring facts to life and have fun whilst doing it.

Most Tour Guides are passionate about a particular topic and will use their knowledge and enthusiasm to give visitors a more informed, exciting visit to a historic or cultural site. As a Tour Guide, you’ll get to explore and engage with an area of interest, whilst giving back to the community. This is also a great learning opportunity, as you’ll get the chance to engage in some interesting conversations and debates with visitors.

Activity Leader

If you’re an outgoing, enthusiastic person who would enjoy bringing your favourite cultural topics to life by leading interactive games and activities (from treasure hunts to sketching), this could be the volunteer role for you. 

As a Volunteer Activity Leader, you’ll help children get an educational yet fun learning experience. With a charity such as English Heritage you could be leading family activities and/or visiting schools to give children and parents information about the charity and its sites. One of your main responsibilities will be to inspire children to visit historic sites and help them to see culture and history in an interesting and positive way.

Gardening and Maintenance roles

By helping to maintain the building and grounds of cultural sites, you are creating a more pleasant experience for those who visit it. This is also a way to give back to your favourite cultural site by helping to look after it. There are a range of ways to get involved from helping with horticultural tasks such as weeding and pruning, to supervising gardens and following health and safety guidelines.

Information/Visitor Experience Volunteer

Although museums and art galleries are exciting and interesting places, they can also be overwhelming and as a visitor, it can be difficult to know where to start. Information or Visitor Experience Volunteers aim to help visitors make the most of their experience by greeting them as they arrive and offering them information/advice about exhibitions and specific areas of interest at the cultural site. You’ll be interacting with visitors from all over the world which makes for an interesting cultural experience in itself. Why not volunteer to support visitors at one of many English Heritage sites across the country?

Volunteer diary: A Day in the Life

Additional roles supporting cultural charities and establishments

For more information on supporting the cultural charities and establishments in ‘behind the scenes’ roles, please click through to our Office & Admin and Fundraising pages, or explore the range of charities below.

Where can I volunteer?

There are are number of different ways to get involved. There are a handful of nationwide organisations such as the National Trust, English Heritage, Scottish Heritage etc who have volunteering roles across the country. 

If you are in London then there are a range of world class cultural exhibitions you could look to support such as the Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, London Transport Museum, Tate, Camden Arts Centre, Somerset House, or Dulwich Picture Gallery

The same is true all across the UK, and as always the best place to start is often by visiting the website of your local cultural attraction or reaching out in person.

Why Volunteer later in life?

More and more people are finding satisfaction in Volunteering. Find out why you should become a volunteer and the benefits it can bring.

Find your purpose

Volunteer for a charity and you will be joining a mission to make the world a better place. Find a cause that inspires you and get started.

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