Ashdon Village Museum Needs You!

The museum is recruiting volunteers for a range of exciting new projects.  We already have a small team of fantastic bakers and tea-makers who support the very popular tearoom during our open season.  We also have a number of volunteers who to ad hoc jobs for us in managing the website, carpentry, painting etc.  However, the museum is growing and houses a rich collection of village heritage which deserves better visibility.  We want to strengthen our volunteer team and help the museum play a larger role in the village community.

We are being supported in our development of volunteering opportunities by a small team from Marvellous Micromuseums who have previously worked with us on research into the needs and opportunities available in village museums.

Our plans for 2021 include

  • Finding volunteers with IT skills to help run our website and our Facebook page
  • Finding volunteers to help with the interpretation of our displays. We have about 32 individual subject displays in the museum.
  • Finding volunteers to help with a cataloguing programme. We have about 20,000 objects that need photographing and cataloguing – a task that will take several years, but it can’t be done without volunteer support.

We are currently scoping out these projects, working out the best timings to start projects, deliver training etc.

We are also working out how volunteering can help support volunteers, for example working towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s scheme, work experience, getting a reference for returners to work etc

Bookmark this page and check back regularly for updates through 2021!

New volunteers!

12 Mar 21

We’ve got our first volunteer!   The wonderful Gordon has volunteered to help out with the website and be our photographer.  While we can’t open the museum, being able to show you pictures of our wonderful collection is all the more important.  We are hoping to get pictures throughout the website, and on Facebook, and Marvellous Micromuseums is tweeting on our behalf as well.

We would be very interested to hear from anyone who could make a few short videos for us.  We’d like to try to make a video of the museum using Google Tour Creator, and also make a few short clips for social media, of the Curator talking about objects.  If anyone is looking for a volunteering activity for DofE, or a suitable Scout/Guide badge, we can make sure we tailor the opportunity to fit the award requirements.  If you are interested, please contact us.


Added: 2 Mar 21

Interpretation is a different approach to labelling and talking about items in a museum.  Rather than just aim to give the visitor factual information about an object, interpretation tries to reveal (information), relate (to the visitor’s life experiences) and provoke (the visitor into thinking more about the object afterwards).  The technique of ‘interpreting’ objects comes not directly from museums, but from observation carried out with the US National Parks Service in the mid-20th century, doing public presentations of the landscape.  It is now a widely practiced method of presenting information across the world and is considered best-practice in the US, France, New Zealand, the UK and many other countries.

Interpretation works best when objects can be tied to more information than just their material form.  This gives small, local museums like Ashdon and immense advantage in making fantastic interpretation, because we know so much about the social history of our objects.  We know the people who owned them, who used them at work or at home, we know other things about those people’s lives and we can connect objects to an even richer history.

Here’s an example from the AVM collection, which label engages you more?


A handmade, red velvet dress in a classic 1950s design.  The dress was made for a long-time village resident in 1963.

It has ¾ length sleeves, a sweetheart neckline and a minimalist look.  This dress would have been suitable for wearing on a variety of social occasions.


Photo © Tracy Dewhirst


Pat Miles had this red velvet dress made for her wedding in 1963.  Even in the swinging 60s that caused a bit of a stir.

But she also wore it to village parties and events so she got good use out of it and she certainly couldn’t be missed on the dance floor!

Do you have an item of clothing that makes you feel a million dollars?

Photo © Tracy Dewhirst


The Museum hopes to begin using interpretation to enable the objects in the collection, and their history, to relate, reveal and provoke visitors and give them a richer experience of Ashdon.  This will be a volunteer led development and full training and support will be offered.  If you would like to be involved in the Interpretation project, then contact the Curator, Glenn Miller.