Celebrating our Volunteers

An orange wall with portraits on it and a person standing in front

23 September 2019 was a very special day for the Jewish Museum London as six of our amazing volunteers were chosen as joint-winners of the London Region Marsh Awards for Museum Learning.

The Marsh Awards recognise the dedication of volunteers to Museum Learning and the incredible contribution they make to museums.

An orange wall with portraits on it and a person standing in front

On a windy September day Thamar, our Holocaust Education Manager, and I gathered at the British Museum to celebrate the contribution of these six people: Ruth Barnett, Bea Green, Ann Kirk, Bob Kirk, Bernd Koschland and Elsa Shamash.

For twenty years these six volunteers have been coming into our museum to share their story with school children. In 2018 they took their commitment to the museum to a new height.

All six volunteered to give their time to film their testimony alongside answers to popular questions asked by school children.

A group of people standing together

Sharing deeply personal experiences, their videos formed the focal point of the exhibition alongside loaned keepsakes and family photographs.

These films will form a central point of future school workshops, sharing their message with generations to come.

The award ceremony was led by the Head of Learning at the British Museum who spoke of the incredible volunteering happening in museums and heritage sites across the UK.

A woman standing below a large display screen

It was wonderful to hear of all that is happening from Yorkshire pit mining to LGBTQ+ collections in Norwich and from Clifton Suspension Bridge tours to Tudor re-enactment in Wales.

Our own volunteers received their award and posed for their celebratory photograph (with myself and Thamar sneaking in for one of them!)

A group of people standing together

After the ceremony, there was the opportunity to meet with other winners and discuss our different projects.

It was also a brilliant chance to spend time together as a group. Our speakers are so in demand they are never all in one place at one time. To have five out of six together made it a very special afternoon.

For the last twenty years we have known how fortunate we are to have the commitment of these six speakers, sharing deeply personal stories.

It was brilliant to see them getting this recognition they so deserve. As Thamar puts it ‘they truly are role models and continue to give so much to the wider community. Unassuming and modest, they go about inspiring anyone who will listen’.