Student Volunteering Week: Zachary's story

This week (8 February - 14 February) is Student Volunteering Week! We hear from University of Winchester Student, Zachary about his time volunteering at Hampshire Cultural Trust and the many different tasks he's tried his hand at during this placement.


My name is Zachary Stimpson and I’m a third year Archaeology student from the University of Winchester, currently on a nine month work placement. As it is Student Volunteering Week this week, it seems appropriate to write about my experiences of being a volunteer at Hampshire Cultural Trust, especially during the current climate of COVID 19.

I would first like to note that I am very grateful and lucky to still have the opportunity to volunteer during the pandemic, as I am still able to contribute to the programming department by working from home.

Zachary helping out the programming tea with woodworm treatment.

Going into this placement I understood that it was not going to be a traditional working experience. However, I have gained valuable skills and participated in a variety of projects within the department. For example, between lockdowns, I assisted with furniture removal from a store that led to the programming department completing two days of woodworm treatment in the middle of winter!

I also had the pleasure of supporting the conservation team by working on the large Mr Simpson Teddy Bear collection (which I am sure everyone is ecstatic to have finally completed) for a new Teddy Bear Museum at Milestones, and a large collection of box brownie cameras that are now on display in the camera shop window at Milestones.  Even though I am not training to be a conservator, I feel like being exposed to this section of museum heritage has been extremely beneficial as it has given me a great appreciation for the hard work completed behind the scenes on a daily basis.

Zachary supporting the conservation team by assisting with the work on Mr Simpson's teddy bear collection. 

The national lockdowns have definitely affected my placement, for both better and for worse.  As I am working from home currently, the most beneficial lesson I have learnt is discipline when it comes to working with so many distractions.  It also allowed me to help catalogue collections already in store, such as the seemingly endless McGovern collection of archaeological finds, which surprisingly has increased my knowledge of medieval buckles!

Medieval buckle in the collections cared for by Hampshire Cultural Trust.

The difficulties though, unfortunately, are the same as any job when you’re working from home, such as missing those you work with and friendships being stretched. I would still encourage anyone wanting to do a placement/volunteering to definitely participate as the benefits are as you make them.


To find out more information about volunteering with Hampshire Cultural Trust, click here .


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Our venues are safe and inclusive spaces that provide great cultural experiences at the heart of our communities and connect everyone to Hampshire’s rich heritage.We welcome over 700,000 visitors to our venues each year and also work with over 2,000 people annually who are vulnerable or who otherwi…
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Hampshire Cultural Trust

From museums to galleries to arts centres, we manage and support 23 attractions across the county, welcoming over 740,000 people each year. Our charitable purpose is changing lives through culture.
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