The National Museum in Prague has just launched its very first volunteer program, giving members of the public the opportunity to serve in a variety of positions, depending on their personal interests and qualifications. I spoke to the head of the project, Ludmila Tůmová, about how much interest the project has generated and what kind of work is currently available.
“I think that the most interesting work we offer is the possibility to work directly with the collection items and the possible activities are really wide –for example they can work at the Museum of Natural History marking various specimens of the insect collection or they can work with our poster collection and if it is a student with a specific education they can work in our laboratories for restauration and preservation.”
So who has shown interest – who are your volunteers so far and what are they engaged in?
“The two main groups are students who want to gain further professional training aside from what their school offers them and then seniors who want to participate in the activities of a cultural institution.”
And where are they working now?
“The students are mostly working in Terezín because they want to gain special training and most of our labs for restauration and preservation are located there. And other students, as well as some seniors, decided to work at the National Museum Library, so they are working in the new building of the National Museum.”
So you are willing to take on practically anyone and place them depending on their qualifications?
“Yes, at this point we are taking on anyone who is willing to take part in the activities of the museum, however it has to be in accordance with the needs of individual departments. We cannot take on hundreds of volunteers, obviously.”
How many do you have?
In what way is this cooperation beneficial for the National Museum –in addition to them being free helpers?
“We really appreciate their help, but I think the most important thing for us is that this is another opportunity to open the museum to the public and show people what it is all about.”
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