Marsh Volunteer Award with the Museum of London

This Award is run in partnership with the Museum of London and recognises the contributions made to the Museum by an exceptional volunteer.

The Museum of London has hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time, skills and interests in various ways, from looking after collections and archives, to providing support on learning programmes and welcoming visitors into the museum.

Nominations for the Award are gathered by the Museum of London and judged in partnership with the MCT.

Graham Minshaw 2022

Graham has been a volunteer with the Learning Department since January 2017 and has taken up various roles in this time. He has volunteered at least once a week with unfailing reliability and commitment to the museum which goes above and beyond. Graham first volunteered with the schools team, engaging the pupils and dealing with any challenges with his unflappable nature. More recently, he was one of the first volunteers to return to the museum after the pandemic and has contributed to resurrecting the Hands-on History programme which is always so well received by visitors. Graham finds a unique way to engage with the public at the museum and receives great feedback on how welcome he has made people feel during their visit. He is open and generous with new volunteers and shares with them his years of experience and knowledge. He makes constructive contributions to the Learning Department, sharing his experiences as a volunteer so that they can improve the way they communicate with volunteers and solve issues. Graham is unfailingly positive, enthusiastic and committed to his role as a Museum of London Volunteer.

Previous Winners

Jessica Rayner and Julia Ruxton, Memories of London volunteers

Jess is adept at connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds and is a fantastic listener with people at all stages of the condition, able to connect their memories with objects at the Museum. She is dependable and adaptable and she adjusted her working style on the Memories and Music sessions which brought together young children and older people. She always goes above and beyond and her enjoyment of her volunteering role is clear.

Julia is a true asset to the programme, she is keen to support different types of sessions and never fails to get stuck in to whatever task she is assigned. Her warm friendliness is infectious, and she is able to bring even the most non-verbal participants out of their shells. Julia particularly shone when she supported an eight week project in a care home, where she built a real rapport with the participants and brought joy to their experience. She is a tremendous advocate for the Museum, beyond just the programmes that she is involved in.

Maggie Wood

Maggie is a volunteer with the Schools Team, but has also taken on a number of other roles at the Museum of London. She started volunteering with the Museum in 2015 and now is an integral part of both the Schools volunteer team at London Wall, and the new Audience Engagement team in the Talking Point gallery. She regularly volunteers two or more days a week and is willing to give as much of her time as is needed to various projects across the Museum.

She has been involved with outreach handling sessions, has mentored and trained new volunteers, and is taking part in the Talking Points project which is helping to establish a new experimental gallery at the Museum. Maggie is knowledgeable, calm, enthusiastic, approachable and always open to a new challenge, which has stood her in good stead for her new volunteer role as part of the Audience Engagement team in the new Talking Point experimental gallery.

As a Schools volunteer, Maggie meets and greets school groups, directing them to the correct spaces and ensuring they get the most out of their day, with a friendly smile and lots of enthusiasm. Maggie has also trained to become an Amphitheatre specialist, conducting walks to and from the Amphitheatre to give school groups a comprehensive introduction to Roman London.

Katie Tomkins

Katie began volunteering in 2013 and is now one of the longest serving Schools Volunteers at the museum. She gives an incredible amount of time and effort to her role at the museum and shares her expertise as an ex-SEND teacher with staff and other volunteers. She volunteers at the museum every Thursday, welcoming and supporting schools throughout their visit by ensuring that everything runs smoothly and also gives a great deal of her own time to creating colour-coded schedules for all volunteers so that everyone can be aware of what is happening where in the museum.

Katie regularly volunteers on extra days to lead students on external walks and help with specific sessions. She draws on her knowledge and experience as an SEND teacher to help with specialised sessions and often signs up to help volunteer at short notice. In a sometimes chaotic role, Katie remains calm and professional and goes above and beyond to make sure that teachers feel supported and students are engaged so that they get the most out of their sessions.

Katie is modest, tireless, generous with her time and expertise and demonstrates remarkable commitment to the schools programme and to the schools who come through the doors of the museum. She is an invaluable asset to the museum and is well respected by both staff and her fellow volunteers alike.

Claire Madge

Claire began volunteering at the Museum of London in the Archaeological Archive as part of the 12th Volunteer Inclusion Project run by the Museum. She was the first Archive volunteer to publicly document her volunteering experience on her weekly blog, which has enabled volunteer managers to evaluate the volunteer roles and also give an example to potential new Museum volunteers of what they can expect from their role.

Claire has volunteered in a number of departments at the Museum and has also acted as an advisor for the Museum in its development of its Morning Explorer programme, a scheme aimed at engaging families with children diagnosed with autistic spectrum conditions. She is an advocate for autism awareness and is always on the look out to improve the way that museums engage with people who are autistic to enhance their experience. Claire is an Ambassador for the Museum’s autism related projects, promoting them by speaking at conferences and writing articles to be included in national Museum Journals.

In the last year, Claire acted as the broker between the Museum of London and CASPA which ultimately led to the introduction of an eight week project for eight young autistic adults. She joins the project one day a week, offering support to CASPA volunteers and tracking the group’s progress, reporting their success on her blog. Team CASPA’s success has been remarkable and was recently recognised in the London Volunteers in Museums Awards where they were awarded ‘Best Team’.

David Allan

David is an experienced retired radiologist and his assistance to the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology (CHB) has been invaluable. Using his skills in interpreting radiographs, David has been able to access information which has proven to be vital. He has also added further information to osteological records by supplying new analytical insights to pathologies and trauma. David’s trained eye has allowed him to go through collected radiographs of the past few years with a digital radiography kit and in doing so, make the digital radiographic images more accessible.

David follows the appropriate clinical standards and navigates his way through them using the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine viewer, a searchable way and method for recording the data that he is observing for the radiographic images in comparison with the data on the osteological database. David faced the considerable task of reordering the images so they are in a relevant order to the context, requiring attention to detail. This work has enabled the creation and formation of new digital archives for the CHB and the Museum of London. David’s work is greatly appreciated and will have a lasting legacy and provide support to a number of future projects at the Museum.

John Walledge

John first joined the museum as a volunteer in October 2011 when he participated in the Archaeological Archive’s Volunteer Inclusion Programme. He is one of the most time-giving volunteers at the museum and in his role as a Voluntour guide at the Archaeological Archive he has delivered 8 public tours in the past year alone, allowing visitors to engage with collections which would otherwise be hidden away. John also volunteers as a member of the Archive’s ‘Archaeology Online’ team where he focuses on digitising and cataloguing collections to a high standard, which can then be disseminated through the museum’s Collections Online webpages. He is a great team player and offers huge commitment to the projects which require continual training throughout the year.

John is also a volunteer in the Conservation department where he has been fully trained in collections care work, regularly assisting with the cleaning and maintenance of the Social & Working History collections. He has also taken on a further role as a volunteer for the Sainsbury Archive at Museum of London Docklands engaging his talents as a graphic designer and bringing explicit expertise to the role.

John is always one of the first to offer his assistance when needed – participating in events for Volunteers’ week, volunteer Q&As and offering opinions and advice for developing best practice for volunteering across the museum.

Sue Rowell

Sue is an exceptional volunteer who has taken on a whole range of roles at the Museum. She started out as a volunteer guide, working in a team which welcomed hundreds of visitors to the Archives for the first time. As part of the Conservation and Collection Care volunteers, Sue has given over 145 hours to checking boxes of objects, updating records, and working with hundreds of photographs for the Henry grant archive at the Museum.

Using her experience as a teacher, Sue has supported the Archaeology Family and Schools Team in helping children to engage with the archives and training other volunteers. She is always willing to take on new roles and has made a meaningful impact on the organisation.

Wendy Rudge

Wendy volunteers for the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC) at the Museum of London. In her role she is able to pursue her interest and enthusiasm for archaeology and public engagement, which was recognised when she started attending archaeology workshops as part of a visitor participation project.

Wendy has taken on a variety of roles and projects as a volunteer including helping to improve the care and documentation of the archaeology collections and working with other volunteers to set up a Learning and Handling Collection. She has also trained to become an Archive Tour Guide, leading tours for the general public and sharing her enthusiasm about the collections. She was an Archaeological Ambassador for the ‘Unearthing Bromley’ project, where she encouraged members of the public to become involved with the museum.

Wendy has gone full circle by delivering projects that she first attended as an interested visitor and has been instrumental in delivering some of the LAARC’s most important projects, becoming one of the department’s most relied upon volunteers.