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MGS Upskilling and Celebrating Volunteering scheme: Amy's experience

MGS Upskilling and Celebrating Volunteering scheme: Amy's experience

Amy Thomson joined the MGS Upskilling and Celebrating Volunteering scheme in January while volunteering at Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum. In this blog she discusses starting the scheme remotely and the exciting work she’s been involved in.

My name is Amy Thomson and I am a volunteer with Aberdeen Archives Galleries and Museums in the public programme team, working towards an SVQ 3 in Museums and Galleries Practice.

I have loved learning about history since I was a child. To the extent, that 90% of the places we visited on our honeymoon were museums. That love for history and culture has grown and I am eager to pursue a career in museum and gallery practice.

When volunteering for Aberdeen Women’s Alliance, I delivered walking tours about local women in history and secured funding for plaques to commemorate two female Egyptologists and spoke at the unveiling. I have led the AWA team in researching Aberdeen’s pioneering women which was published in collaboration with Aberdeen Central Library and I have had two articles published in the latest edition of the Scottish Biographical Dictionary of women, about Annie Quibell and Nora Griffith.

I love historical books, podcasts, and documentaries and during lockdown I attended free virtual lectures on historical topics. I enjoy engaging with the people and sharing my enthusiasm for history and hope to inspire that enthusiasm in others.

I joined the MGS Upskilling and Celebrating Volunteering scheme in January 2021 and was intrigued how it would work during the Covid19 pandemic, when venues were closed and teams couldn’t meet in person. I met with my assessors, colleagues, and fellow volunteer regularly on Microsoft Teams and built up a good relationship as we grew to trust each other and shared what we hoped to achieve.

I also met with the all the teams across the organisation and each team member told us a bit about their role and answered my questions. Even though we could not work in venues in person, bonds and relationships were still formed.

The first unit we covered was Plan and Implement your professional development in the creative and cultural sector. I found this daunting as I had always wanted to work in a historical environment, and now I was really having to sit down and think about it. Through meetings with team members, sharing our thoughts, opinions, and ideas, along with Karen’s support, I completed the task and discovered that I really want to be people facing in public programming. It is going to be interesting looking back at my CPD plan from the beginning of the course and seeing how far I have come and I know I have grown in confidence.

In my placement, I have written a piece for the local paper on an artwork I selected from within Aberdeen Archives Gallery and Museums collection. I planned and delivered a Crochet Craft workshop, and a 45-minute talk on Visons of Beauty: Uncovering art as part of the Way Word Festival. I spent time in our museums stores to help move, assess, and prepare objects for display and attended the reopening of Provost Skene’s House. To be able to see historical items first hand, ask questions and look them up on The Museum System or the collections website was a great experience.

I feel so lucky to have taken role as it is so much fun. My colleagues are great, kind and as enthusiastic about history and culture as myself. They were, at one point, where I am now, they know and are willing to answer any questions I have. I have jokingly said I do not want the experience to end, but I really do mean it. I have made great friends as well as gained a wealth of knowledge along the way.

Published 09 November 2021