Volunteering with Manuscripts

Museum of the Order of St John Hattie O'Connor-James, Church and Collections Volunteer

I started volunteering for The Museum of the Order of St John in late June this year, I had little idea as to what I would be doing and had limited experience. As someone who is extremely interested in medieval history I was hoping to learn more about it and if I was really lucky gain some hands on experience.  I was not disappointed!  I split my time between working at the museum where I would handle manuscripts and enter them into the database and at the church where I would answer questions from visitors.   I was given the task of organising part of the manuscript collection with documents ranging from the present day through to the 1200’s! It was fascinating to see just how much St John Ambulance undertook in the Second World War and seeing 1940’s leaflets about first aid. I saw a great variety of documents from a letter signed by Napoleon regarding his siege of Malta to documents signed by an array of Monarchs, my favourite was a deed signed by Henry VIII.  To top it all off, the room in which I was working was a gateway built in the time of Henry VII and his granddaughter, Mary had lived in. One of the best things about working at the Museum was the atmosphere both, from the massive gateway which gave off a fantastic vibe and from the people, who are all really passionate about what they do, I have met people who have amazing stories about how they volunteered for St John Ambulance for over forty years and are still dedicated to the cause. It is great to volunteer at a place where there really is something for everyone.  So I would strongly urge anyone who is considering volunteering to do so! It’s an incredibly rewarding experience which allows you to help out a great charity with their museum while you expand your knowledge of history and our nation’s heritage.​

Latest blog posts