The LAARC currently offers a number of different volunteer projects including work experience, short-term placements and our award-winning Volunteer Inclusion Programme (VIP). Details of our current volunteer opportunities can be found here.
The first major project involving volunteers was the Minimum Standards Programme (MSP), which ran between 2002 and 2005, funded by the Getty Foundation. This project focused on rationalising the Archaeological Archive – repackaging and documenting artefacts to a ‘minimum standard’ of collections care. The project’s success led to the LAARC winning the ‘Conservation Award for Care of Collections 2005’.
This was followed by the Archive Volunteer Learning Programme (AVLP) which ran between 2006 and 2007, funded by the HLF. The programme allowed an essential backlog of tasks to be completed, such as repacking artefacts, but the focus on the project was equipping participants with key transferable skills such as improved numeracy, literacy and IT skills.
In 2008 the Volunteer Inclusion Programme was launched, funded by the Museum, Libraries and Archive Council’s Renaissance in the Regions programme. The VIP is one of the most successful museum inclusion projects in London over the last few years. The programme combined the successes of previous projects in combining social inclusion of a diverse volunteer audience with real collections care work.
In 2011 the VIP Project won a major award – Best Educational Initiative – at the Museum & Heritage Awards, for leading the largest volunteer-led inclusion project that the Museum of London has ever undertaken in its history. This acted as a blue-print for other organizations with involving volunteers. By sharing our expertise in volunteer management and promoting our ‘VIP model’ other museums have benefited, such as Natural History Museum and their V Factor volunteer project.
With funding from Arts Council England (2012 – 2015), the LAARC has been able to expand upon our VIP model in different ways, allowing us to further ‘open up’ our huge collections of archaeology to a greater, and more diverse, audience. ACE funding has allowed us to run ‘Mini’ projects that engage groups for whom our previous project format was a barrier to participation. In addition we are running ‘Borough’ projects and over the next three years we will engage with 6 outer London boroughs. This will involve working on archaeology previously excavated from each borough, normally stored centrally at the LAARC, and engaging the local community.
We will be expanding our ‘Volunteers’ project, which involves volunteers leading public tours of the Archaeological Archive every week. We are also developing our learning and community strategies, which will involve additional volunteers in helping run our Community Excavationsand deliver outreach with local schools and for museums to create their own archaeological resources.
Keep up to date with the LAARC’s many volunteer projects by following our interactive blog.