As well as paid staff, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is aided by a small army of volunteers. A young lady with the rather enigmatic name Willow Cottam has been helping out recently. She describes her experience:

I started volunteering at the museum at the end of September 2016, just as the refurbishment work was beginning. This means I’ve been continuously working with the items for the new gallery, so it’s especially exciting for me to see some of the objects I’ve become familiar with in the display.

The Wonders of the Peak mid-refurb

I decided to volunteer at the museum because I’ve always wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes. I never expected to be allowed to handle objects, on my first afternoon I held a 200,000 year old stone hand axe!

hand axe
Hand axe on display in the new Wonders of the Peak

I’ve done a wide variety of things, including adding grid references to the location in old photographs and watching an old BBC documentary to tag all the locations shown. This may sound boring to some, but it allowed me to learn more about the place I grew up in. Where I had the most fun was cataloguing all the objects for the new Wonders of the Peak gallery. Weighing, photographing and measuring the objects made me feel like I was a part of the museum and I enjoyed it immensely.

I would definitely recommend volunteering here at the museum, even if it’s just for an hour, you get to meet some really lovely people, get up close and personal with some amazing historical objects and be a part of something really special.