Volunteering with National Museums Scotland can be hugely rewarding. Find out what our volunteers have to say about their time with us, and meet some of our tour guides.
Volunteer, National Museum of Rural Life
The National Museum of Rural Life opened in 2001, just after I moved to East Kilbride and I have been a regular visitor ever since. As a result, I frequently take relatives and friends for a tour of the museum, a walk or tractor ride to the farm and a visit to the café afterwards.
The farmhouse also evokes childhood memories of living near farms and walking across the fields for horse riding lessons. It reminds me of the familiar sights and sounds of farmyard animals and the occasional farmyard smell!
When I saw the opportunity to volunteer at their events, I immediately applied. I love history and the countryside, so wanted to help support this local farming museum in any way I could. It is an asset to the local area. So far, I have had the opportunity to provide the public with information on events, enrolment onto the various activities, carry out visitor surveys and get involved in candle making and craft workshops. I enjoy socialising and this is a great way to meet new people from the local area, the UK and also international visitors.
Volunteering has given me the chance to work with like-minded people. The staff and other volunteers are very friendly and I feel that the museum is grateful for my small contribution. It genuinely feels good to help. As a result, it has encouraged me to volunteer for further events and I have also applied to be a farmhouse guide. I am constantly learning new skills and hope to continue gaining more experience.
Aileen with a baby goat at the Country Fair.
Volunteer Gardener, National Museum of Flight
My volunteer experience gave me a chance to learn gardening skills, practice my English and make new friends. From a barren piece of ground and with the help of some lovely Spring weather, I have now managed to produce a few baskets of organic vegetables for the Aviator Café to use in their menus for their customers.
I dream of having my own garden in the future and perhaps the most satisfying thing for me is to see the results of my work. I planted some seeds and after a few weeks it is an amazing reward to see them grow, after so much watering and care.
Viktoria in front of the garden she worked on.
Collections Volunteer, Science and Technology department
Over the ten years that I have been a volunteer with National Museums Scotland, I have handled and labelled a significant number of articles and have seen many more. For me, the whole experience of working within this environment is a privilege. To be able to work within this structure, plus to see and touch articles (with gloves on I hasten to add) on my visits.
John at the National Museum Collection Centre.
Event Volunteer, National Museum of Scotland
As an Event Volunteer, I helped with adult craft activities at a Museum Late: Celts, plus other stewarding and ticketing at the National Museum of Scotland and National Museum of Rural Life.
I naturally enjoy speaking to lots of different people and I find it rewarding to make the experience of visitors as enjoyable as possible. The activities have been very interesting and, as I have background in fine art, I love having the opportunity to engage others in making crafts. I would recommend it to anyone as it is a lot of fun to get involved with the museum and everyone is really lovely to work with and very professional.
A group of staff and event volunteers at a Museum Late.
Our volunteer guides
Our guided tours are run by a number of enthusiastic and experienced volunteer guides. We introduce a selection of our guides here.
David delivers a number of different themed tours. He is pictured in front of this fixed azimuthal condensing lighthouse optic which was used for the River Tay, an object that features in his Scottish Lighthouses themed tour.
Norman has been a volunteer guide with at the National Museum of Scotland since 1998. He enjoys the different challenges that each tour brings and that he never quite knows who will join his tour next. He is pictured here in front of The Maiden, which features in his Death, Pain and Punishment themed tour of the museum.
Odile delivers tours on many subjects and is pictured here next to the Large Tree Group Tapestry, which she believes is very special. She finishes one of her 2000 Years of Textiles tours here, allowing people to sit down opposite whilst she discusses the tapestry.
Robert has been developing and delivering tours at the National Museum of Scotland since 2002. He believes it is important to have an element of humour in his tours. He loves volunteering at the museum, as it enables him to continue learning new things.
Janet has been a volunteer guide at the National Museum of Scotland since 2003. She enjoys meeting all of the visitors that join her tours, as often they are from all over the world.
John started volunteering with National Museums Scotland 7 years ago. He initially started attending many of the tours and talks at the museum, before joining us as a volunteer. He is pictured next to the Hilton of Cadboll stone which features in a number of his tours. He'll often ask visitors what they see in the stone, before going on to discuss this.
Sally likes bringing history to life on her tours. When not at the museum, she is a blue badge tourist guide and particularly likes learning about Scottish history.
Gordon was a teacher before he became a volunteer guide at the National Museum of Scotland. He likes to continue to develop and share knowledge in his role as a guide. He is pictured here next to the World Cultures Arctic display, which featured in one of the first themed tours he developed.
Eric is one of our newest volunteer guides at the National Museum of Scotland. He is pictured here next to the Fossilised Tree Slice. He thinks it is a beautiful object and often features it on his tour, as it allows him to discuss the fascinating story of Scottish naturalist and conservationist John Muir.
Moira's tours normally focus on the World Culturesand Scottish Historygalleries. This Waka Taua (Maori war canoe) is one of her favourites, as it has a great story and she enjoys highlighting the modern conservation methods used on this object.