#VolunteersWeek – Introducing Jack
This week is Volunteers Week, giving us a chance to celebrate our wonderful volunteers, without whom the museum would not be able to run. As part of this we will be posting daily blogs from volunteers, starting today with Jack…
Jack has been a volunteer since March 2010 when the museum
re-opened in Camden Town.
early retirement, volunteering at the Jewish Museum seemed an ideal avenue to
spend time interestingly and productively while ‘giving something back’, and
also pursuing what is, for me, a passionate interest in museums and galleries
“Also though not religiously orthodox myself, I have a
strong social interest in Judaism, its customs and its heritage. I
enjoy seeing beautiful art, antiques, collectibles while discovering more of
the social history surrounding the exhibits and displays. Volunteering at
the Jewish Museum therefore seemed a perfect choice.”
Jack’s favourite aspect to volunteering is bringing the
exhibition to life. “It feels
particularly satisfying when able to pro-actively provide information, or give
answers to questions. It’s satisfying too when assisting enthusiastic school
groups on their visits to the galleries, especially when they appear keen on
“I also find it fascinating to learn the
stories surrounding discoveries of important Judaica like the magnificent
Italian (probably Venetian) Synagogue ark discovered in Northumbria,
and back then having being used as a servant’s wardrobe.”
Asked if there’s anything volunteering has
taught him, Jack replied, “Volunteering
at the museum feels good! Sharing knowledge and information with visitors and
colleagues feels good, while also developing and learning as a result of
listening to visitors’ own individual stories and from any questions raised. I
will occasionally do ‘homework’ following my shift to learn more about an
object, theme or subject based upon a question that I have been asked.”
One of Jack’s favourite objects is the pair of eighteenth century Derby porcelain figures depicting a Jewish Pedlar and his wife (above).
“I remember seeing them on my first ever visit to the Jewish Museum
back when it was located in Woburn House. It’s interesting that some of these
early humble street traders on to establish retail shops and become household
Jack’s top tips for being a volunteer are:
- Remain positive and always be courteous and polite.
- A smile will often go a long way.
- Be flexible in your duties and work as part of a team.
- Learn as much as possible over time, and don’t try to know everything at once.