Volunteering

The Southam Heritage Collection is totally dependent on the support of its volunteers. Everything that is done by the Collection, for the Collection or on behalf of the Collection is done by volunteers. Have you thought about volunteering your skills to help?

Everyone, as they go through life, is constantly acquiring and developing skills that can be used to help organisations like the Heritage Collection – its just that often we don’t realise what we take for granted, and assume everyone else can do the same but it just isn’t the case. Each and everyone of us can use the skills and experiences we have acquired throughout our careers to help organisations like the Southam Heritage Collection.

All the activities Southam Heritage Collection is involved with utilise management skills, technical skills, computing skills, photography skills, presentation skills, speaking skills, people skills,  organisational skills and communication skills to name but just a few. We can make use of virtually any skills that people have.

Current areas where we could do with help include:

  • Minutes secretary – Attend Management Committee Meeting approx every 6 weeks, take and publish Management Committee minutes with Microsoft Word – also bi-annual Trustee Meetings and the Annual General,Meeting
  • Exhibition stewarding – interface with general public to welcome them to exhibitions, sell cards, booklets, calendars etc and discuss with them any items relevant to the history of Southam. We are usually open on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings from 10 till Noon and occasional holidays. No prior knowledge is required as we can provide all skills necessary.
  • 200 Club administration The 200 Club (our monthly prize draw) is one of our main fundraising activities and requires someone to run it. Most of the activity is focussed on the April/May period when new annual tickets are sold. Then there is a minor role each month to run the draw and distribute the prize. A familiarity with Microsoft Excel and computers would be useful but not 100% necessary.
  • Membership administration and recruitment We rely on support from members for finance and exhibitions. They are an essential part of the Heritage Collection and we need to keep in touch with them through our six monthly newsletters. We use a Microsoft Word template to help publish the newsletter so skills in using Word would be essential.
  • “Cardall’s Corner” story writing Each month we submit a short article to the Southam Advertiser on some aspect of local history which they publish. This article is eagerly awaited by many people so finding likely stories and writers is an ongoing project. Stories are normally submitted to the Advertiser in Microsoft Word format.
  • Exhibition research and assembly Each year we run three exhibitions, two long ones in the main part of the year and then an 8 week one in the lead up to Christmas when we focus on our Calendar. We need a small team of people to construct a plan for future exhibitions, including making suggestions for themes and then doing any necessary research to pull together the material to create the exhibition. The next two topics will probably be Police and Southam in the 50’s and 60’s..
  • Booklet research and publishing for exhibitions. With each exhibition we try to produce a small booklet which we can seek to provide help with funding and also to fill out the Exhibition topic for those members of the public who wish to know more about the subject than the Exhibition is able to provide. Booklets are normally written using Microsoft Word.
  • Movie making for exhibition TV display. One of the main draws in terms of getting people to come into the exhibition room is a moving display and we have a large screen television to help with this. For each exhibition we would like to have some sort of visual display which involves moving pictures. These could be from a video or they could be produced using Microsoft PowerPoint or something similar. The skills required, apart from the computer ones, include a strong creative ability.
  • Publicity – village notice boards, contacts with other History Groups, use of MailChimp. We need to be able to inform as wide a potential audience as possible about our exhibitions and other activities, so we would like to produce poster displays (anything from A5 to A1 in size) using standard Microsoft software such as Publisher, PowerPoint or Word and then laminate and distribute these around local village notice boards.
  • Fund raising – in all its aspects, devise schemes, organise street collections, facilitate grant proposals. Unfortunately the Heritage Collection cannot exist without raising a significant sum of money each year. We need a small team of people who could focus on developing ideas for raising funds, develop and submit grant requests and help ensure the Collection has enough funds to continue its work.
  • Scanning / digitising the collection There are over 6,000 items catalogued in the Collection now and we only have digital copies of approx half of them. We have one team of volunteers scanning additional items each week but it is quite a lengthy process and additional people would speed up this process.
  • Photographing collection objects. In addition to documents we have quite a few objects in the collection which cannot be scanned because of their size and so need photographing. We have some specialised equipment such as lighting and a light box but we need one or two people who would be happy to photograph objects. It is not essential to have a high level of photographic skill but some understanding of digital photography would be very useful.
  • Develop and deliver history talks for local groups using PowerPoint. One of the ways in which we spread knowledge about the Collection and also generate significant funds is to offer local groups the opportunity to book talks about aspects of local history. The skills needed include Microsoft PowerPoint and also obviously public speaking.
  • Web site management  The Collection has a web site (southamheritage.org) which needs keeping up to date and monitoring on a regular basis.
  • AIIM Accreditation project For some time now the Collection has wanted to achieve formal recognition as a Museum. This would help when applying for grants etc but would also give the Collection greater status in the world of Culture and Heritage. We would like to assemble a small team to investigate what we would need to achieve this status and then develop and monitor a project to achieve it.
  • Extracting additional information (shop names etc) from the existing catalogues. All 6,000+ collection items and the 3,000 photos are indexed in Excel spreadsheets but the catalogue information is somewhat limited and it can be difficult to find items. We would like to assemble a team to review the current catalogue information in conjunction with the digital images and where appropriate add any additional information.
  • Initial cataloguing and scanning of waiting items. Since the Collection moved into Tithe Place over 12 months ago we have been given quite a number of additional items and documents (probably several hundred) and these need cataloguing and digitising.
  • Newspaper archives when Southam Library had to move to smaller premises they donated a substantial collection of local newspaper cuttings to the Collection. All these cuttings exist in digital form but we have no catalogue information for them. There is a significant project required to create a digital index for these items along the lines of the other indices using Microsoft Excel.
  • Cleaning We need to clean the exhibition premises once a month or so – basically the floor, the windows, and the glass in the display cabinets. Presentation of our Exhibitions and cleanliness of the Project Room and kitchen is very important to us, so help to remove sticky finger and muddy shoe marks are very much appreciated.

The possibilities are endless and the list above is by no means compete. All the above areas are being worked on at present but the amount of effort and time that can be spent is necessarily limited by the number of people who are currently involved.

If you would like to try your hand in any of the above areas, or others that haven’t been mentioned, then we would be very pleased to meet you. Please come along on any Tuesday, Friday or Saturday morning and talk to us about what you could do or contact us at southamheritage@hotmail.com. There is no obligation for you to get involved but why not give us a try and see if there is some area that you might be interested in helping with.