But, like any museum, it cannot operate without a good supply of willing volunteers – and now, prior to its seasonal reopening in April, the museum has put out a call for new blood.
The Museum’s Curator Pauline Watkins has explained that the museum committee is in need of new faces – people enthusiastic about history and the future of the museum.
But other volunteers are also needed – to help man the museum during its opening hours, catalogue documents, carry out administrative tasks, deal with enquiries: there are many things that the museum does, and all of them need help!
“I know people are very busy,” Pauline told the News, “but if people don’t come forward to help, in the next couple of years, we will have to look at our future.”
Finances aren’t the main issue for the museum, even though they have to continuously fundraise to pay its costs. Instead, Pauline, added, “it’s people – volunteers – who are needed”.
Without an influx of new helpers, Pauline believes that one of the options for the museum will be to close for a couple of days a week – currently, during its open season, it is open six afternoons a week.
The museum’s volunteers take on a variety of projects, including research and publishing local history books. They also deal with genealogical enquiries and visitors from around the world, especially from America, Canada and South Africa.
They man stalls at local events such as the town festival and the Fibreworks’ Fibre Festival, sell teas at Chastleton House and promote the museum at its own regular stall in the arcade leading to the Co-op.
The museum currently opens from Easter to October, Monday to Saturday, from 2 till 4 pm. Volunteers with computer skills would be particularly welcomed; and anyone who joins Chippy’s history society gets free admission to the museum.
An annual Volunteers’ Evening is held shortly before the museum reopens – this year, it is scheduled to reopen the week before Easter. Further details of the volunteers’ evening and the reopening will be in the April edition of the News.