Rachel Martin keeps her skills up to date by volunteering

Why I volunteer

Interview by John Holt, Issue 118/10, 01.10.2018
Rachel Martin, Poole Museum, Dorset
I have been volunteering for two years and have two roles: the first is helping manage the Culture Volunteers programme, which supports the museum, history centre and libraries. The second is a new project that aims to open all the estate buildings to the public throughout the year.

Like many museums, we are bursting at the seams and are keen to showcase more of our maritime history, including the 17th-century Swash Channel Wreck, which is the second most important shipwreck after the Mary Rose. We are unable to display it in its entirety.

Early on in the project, I was asked to find images that could be used in scoping documents and spent many hours in the history centre searching for pictures of the quay, museum buildings and street scenes on the museum estate. I found this incredibly fascinating. Every time I walk along the quay I find myself transported to another time, when it was a bustling hive of industry, and I can visualise the comings and goings of all the people carrying out their trades.

Looking after young children and spending a lot of time at home can knock your confidence, so having a volunteer role where I am able to have a fixed routine and contribute in a productive way is important to me, both to keep my skills up to date and to make the return to work an easier transition.