During 2020, many of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ physical volunteering programmes and opportunities were on hold due to lockdown. The Museum continued to support and engage volunteers with online social wellbeing catchups, craft clubs, training opportunities and events. In 2021, volunteers returned to Wales’ national museums.
Over the past year, thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Museum has supported around 580 volunteers offering over 23,000 hours of their time and expertise. Volunteers have been involved in a range of activities, from helping visitors enjoy handling objects in the museum galleries, to cataloguing specimens behind the scenes and caring for the beautiful historic gardens.
Gardening roles have always been the most popular among volunteers at Amgueddfa Cymru, including:
- At their National Roman Legion Museum’s Roman Garden, volunteers have been helping with the full range of garden chores that illustrate how Roman gardens might have looked and what plants were grown some 2,000 years ago.
- At their National Wool Museum, gardening volunteers maintain an award-winning Natural Dye Garden - a sustainable and attractive garden using plants that traditionally have been used for their natural dyes. The plant materials are harvested and used during end of season workshops.
- At St Fagan's National Museum of History, volunteers help with the maintenance of the historic gardens, but also the development of community-led green spaces –offering volunteering opportunities to people with experience of homelessness and adults with disabilities.
‘I like the hard work and the exercise. Volunteering here makes you feel proud of our history.’’ Secret Garden Volunteer.
- At their National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, the Graft Project has converted an unused space into a public garden, with horticulturally based courses and new gardening kit for volunteers.
"Graft itself, is a story, about beauty, about enhancing the charm of Swansea, about connections through team work and friendship, about giving with a happy heart, not for a moment or a season, but creating a legacy for the community." GRAFT volunteer.
As part of the Museum’s commitment to sustainability and the environment, and inspired by their volunteer gardeners, Amgueddfa Cymru is working towards having community-led gardens at all their seven museums across Wales.
Photo Credit: © Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales