The benefits of becoming a volunteer

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Mike Dennis, a 25 year old Bakery Assistant from Mansfield, started volunteering at Mansfield Museum in July last year.

Having gained qualifications in History, he wanted to start pursuing a career in Museum, Archive or Library work.

Wanting to get some practical industry experience before he started applying for jobs, he thought Mansfield Museum could be just the right place.

The Heritage Lottery project was just getting started and the Industrial gallery really appealed to Mike. One of his first tasks as a volunteer was to make a list of every industry item in the Museum’s Social History archive.

“I found a lot of interesting and unusual items” he says. “The Mansfield Shoe Co Cricket trophies are my favourite objects.

“They’re really visually beautiful and you get a list of all the winners. It’s a reminder of how important the social side was in such companies.”

Mike says what he enjoys most about the museum is that “there is always something different going on”.

In September 2013 he took part in some of the Museum’s Memory Days. Previous employees of various Mansfield industries were invited on different days to share their experiences of working life. “For me the Mansfield Brewery day was the best so far” says Mike. “I found it interesting how little a factor health and safety was years ago!”

Having worked on outreach events at care homes and helped with Doctor Who craft activities over half term, Mike has gained experienced working with all ages in the community. He says his experience is a great addition to his CV.

He added: “I like the flexibility of fitting it in around my other work and the museum staff have been really helpful and friendly.”

Mike has been a great addition to the volunteer team here and has become a bit of a whizz in the archives! After gaining more experience in museums, libraries and archives, he hopes to move further afield to work in one of those areas.

Asked about why people should volunteer at the Museum, Mike said: “The museum has a wide range of roles suitable to people of all ages. You can get involved with the community or help out with events.

People who have a particular interest in local history will really find the museum work beneficial.

“At the same time, volunteering can help a person acquire new skills, meet new people and improve their confidence – it has for me.”

For more Mansfield Museum Volunteer updates, follow @MMVolunteers