Monday, 5 May 2014

Celebrating our Volunteers!

Volunteers are at the heart of the museum, they started the museum in 1964 and continue to contribute to our special character today! So we thought how nice it would be to share with you the areas in which they support the museum, and to say a BIG thank you to each and every one of them!

Front of House, where it all begins!

“The museum’s volunteers provide a vital contribution from working with school children to providing office support among many other tasks. I am in constant admiration of their spirit and enthusiasm.”

– Tony Clark (Trustee)

The Office

“Our office volunteers provide a vital behind the scenes contribution to the running of the museum. From writing letters to answering the telephone, we are grateful for their often unseen involvement."
- Helen Dean (staff member)

Fat Betty’s

“Our cafe volunteers always provide service with a smile, helping us to be Yorkshire’s friendliest museum.”
 – Maureen Wass (staff member)

The Blacksmith

“Robin has been volunteering here since 1967. Sharing generously his time and his skills he has inspired several young people to take up blacksmithing as a profession. Robin also talks to school groups about his excavation experience and recently has helped university students to learn about local dialect words and phrases!”  
– Richard Strickland (Trustee)

Chit Chat in the Buildings

“Volunteers bring our various buildings to life by chatting with our visitors. Many are extremely knowledgeable and share their own memories and experiences. They help to make people’s visits enjoyable and memorable.”

-       Richard Bowman (Staff member)

Craft Demonstrators

“We have many talented volunteers who are skilled and passionate in their crafts, seeing them encourage younger generations in heritage crafts through hands on demonstrations is so rewarding for both them and us.”
 – Wendy Greenwood (Staff member)


“Our volunteers entice visitors into White Cottage with yummy smells and things to taste from biscuit decorating with children to baking fruit pies, bread and yummy delicious ginger scones! They are never short of staff to test their work!”
– Wendy Simms (Staff member)

Displays and Developing

“Volunteers have been involved in the museum since the very beginning 50 years ago! They helped moved whole buildings brick by brick and today they continue to help with new displays and projects. Their input is always valued and it is their ideas and input that helps the museum develop year on year.”

– Hugh O’Loughlin (Trustee)

“From the world war two re-enactors group to Cleveland Fibre Arts, our events wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for our volunteers! Bee keepers to rope makers, rustic weavers to wood demonstrators, the list is endless of the experts and groups that get involved and volunteer their time to make our annual programme so diverse!”

– Emma McKenzie (Staff member)

Rescue and Renovation

“Our model village is the perfect example of the kind of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers we have. Here the volunteers lovingly revived and painstakingly restored the remnants of the village to something that is enjoyed by all”  
– George Winn-Darley (Trustee)

The Costume Ladies

“The volunteers have catalogued the entire costume collection and have created some wonderful displays throughout the museum. This year they’re creating a brand-new costume exhibition based on women’s trades. It opens in July and I can’t wait to see it!
 – Louise Mudd (Trustee)


“Volunteers help the Learning Team to deliver a wide variety of activities to visiting school groups. They don't have regular hours but are asked to help whenever groups are booked in. From living in the Iron Age, building Tudor cruck frames and playing the part of a Victorian washerwoman - there's always something to keep them busy!”

– Emma Colclough (Staff member)

Geoffrey Willey, our oldest volunteer

“Geoffrey is one of those characters, once met never forgotten! He has been involved with the museum nearly since the beginning and at the grand old age of 102 is our oldest volunteer. Geoffrey took many photos of the museum’s development giving us our own fantastic photographic record.”

– Tony Clark (Trustee)

Library, Archive & Collections

“Volunteers assist in cataloguing every item that is donated to the museum from books and sundries to objects and photographs. Without their help I would not be able to keep progress going on the huge task of logging over 40,000 objects that can be found in our collections.”

– Helen Mason (Staff member)

Outside Groups & Community Involvement

“Each year other organisations support the work of the museum and we derive some wonderful benefits from those relationships. We’ve worked with many groups and are always open to hearing new suggestions about people to work with.”

– Jennifer Smith (Museum Director)

Green Fingered Gardeners

“There are numerous gardens throughout the museum covering different periods, from our Victorian White Cottage garden to the Medieval Garth at Crofters. Our green fingered volunteers make sure these are looking lovely and bright and contribute greatly to the overall jolly feel of the grounds, as well as our great track-record in the Yorkshire in Bloom awards.”
– David Ireland (Trustee)


“Our workshop volunteers help us keep the site maintained and looking great! Their input is invaluable for creating that Ryedale Folk Museum charm. From making Merrills boards for the shop, painting and sign writing to creating amazing displays like this new archaeology exhibition.”

– Kevin Simms (Museum Manager)