Barbados Museum Searching For More Volunteers

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From l-r are Museum Director, Allisandra Cummins; Education Officer, Peggy McGeary; Docents Joyce Thompson, Sidi Streetly and Audrey Taylor; Coordinator of the Friends of the Museum Programme, Kathleen Loftfield; Museum Chairman, Dr. Trevor Carmichael, and (in wheelchair, Docent Emeritus, Daisy Frost. (Image: A. Miller/BGIS)??

The Barbados Museum and Historical Society (BMHS) is seeking to inject "fresh blood" into its volunteers programme and, as such, is urging more Barbadians to come forward and give of their time.

This plea has come Education Officer at the BMHS, Peggy McGeary, who stressed that volunteerism was critical to the life of the museum and called on both the "young and old"?? to offer support to the department.

She was speaking during the opening ceremony of the Museum’s new Gift and Souvenir Shop last Friday at St. Ann’s Garrison, St. Michael.

"We are encouraging those Barbadians who may be retired and can offer some of their time, and those who are young and have an interest in history and culture, to come forward," Ms. McGeary said.

Museum Director, Alissandra Cummins, indicated that while the BMHS had a very staunch and committed core of volunteers, she would welcome new members to assist with the department’s programmes.

She also underscored the vital role they played in the running of the museum’s programmes, noting that this was a tremendous opportunity for persons to learn more about local and Caribbean history and to enhance their skills.

"A number of activities are really enriched by human interaction. It is all very well to send visitors through our galleries, but …visitors really need time and attention and the opportunity to hear history, rather than just read it…that is what the Docents [or one category of volunteers] are able to do," Ms. Cummins explained.

The Volunteer Programme is a vital link between the Museum and the public and includes retirees, professionals, young Barbadians and school leavers in need of on-the-job training. ??

The volunteers assist in the library by conducting research, indexing and cataloguing.?? Teenagers and young adults train during the Easter holiday to work as tour guides and junior curators in the summer; Docents coordinate the school programme which services thousands of children annually, while others provide clerical and technical help on special projects. The Friends of the Museum Programme, another volunteer group, coordinates special projects at the Barbados Museum.?? ??

During the launch of the Gift and Souvenir Shop, museum officials also honoured several volunteers who have served some 15 years at the organisation, coordinating the tour guide programme. These were Docent Emeritus, Daisy Frost and Docents Joyce Thompson, Audrey Taylor and Sidi Streetly.

Docent Emeritus refers to a retired volunteer who has given sterling service to the department. Ms. Frost, who was conferred with the title in 1995, is the first to receive such a distinction from the Barbados Museum. Docents are the education volunteers who are specially trained to assist the BMHS.

Further information on the volunteer programme may be obtained by contacting the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, St Ann’s Garrison at 427-0201, 436-1956 or by visiting the website http://www.barbmuse.org.bb/.

askeete@barbados.gov.bb

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