From the very beginning volunteers have played an instrumental role in the Cynon Valley Museum. From campaigning to reopen to embedding the museum in our community, volunteers have been essential, and we would like to say thank you to every single volunteer.
Saved and Run by Volunteers
The Museum was saved and reopened by volunteers. With the museum closed our community came together, people volunteered to campaign and from this emerged the first board of trustees which established the Cynon Valley Museum Trust. The journey to reopening the museum in September 2016 was well on its way. Without these initial volunteers who came to the museum’s aid at its lowest point we might not have the museum we have today.
Welcomed by Volunteers
From the reopening of the museum to the present day, volunteering has been important part of who we are. If you have visited the museum you will have seen some of volunteers behind the front desk, offering warm welcomes, and helping you get to where you are going. Our volunteers on the front desk are invaluable. They also help us raise money for the museum through taking donations, selling museum lottery tickets and operating the museum’s shop. The simple truth is the museum would not be the same without our volunteers on the front desk. We would be open much less and our museum would be quiet.
Preserved by Volunteers
The collection held at the museum would not look the same without volunteers. Since we have reopened, Cynon Valley Museum volunteers have made the museum’s collection more accessible. Volunteers have reviewed the collection, updated records and organised the collection. Collection volunteers have continued to work with the collection, if you have enquired about donating an artefact to the museum you are likely to have met our collection volunteers who respond to enquiries and process the donation, updating records and storing it in the museum safely and securely.
Researched by Volunteers
Thanks to the collection volunteers, the collection can be searched, both by us, members of the community and our partners. Some of our favourite exhibitions have been researched with help of volunteers. This year’s exhibition on Aberdare Park and our rugby exhibition “In the Land of Our Fathers” were both impossible without the support of volunteers both from the museum and outside. Our collection volunteers researched the objects to go on display whilst others at Aberdare Camera Club and Friends of Aberdare Park created their portions of the exhibition.
Volunteers from external partners have been able to explore the collection and research key parts of our heritage. Volunteers from the Jewish History Association of South Wales have researched and updated records, identifying material relating to Jewish heritage and ensuring those records reflect this. This has created more accessible records and has and will produce digital exhibitions on prominent Jewish figures from our valleys history we have already seen on on Victor Freed, there are more to come!
Curated by Volunteers
It has not only been the collection which has seen our volunteers help define and enhance it. In 2019 the museum launched Cynon Curadur. This is a programme to ensure that art exhibitions at the museum are curated by people from the Cynon Valley. The first exhibition was our 2019 Winter Exhibition. The exhibition was solely curated by people from the valley. Since then they have been involved in every physical exhibition, supporting artists to exhibit.
Every year our museum is used by external organisations to give and serve the Cynon Valley community. You may have taken your child to First Steps playgroup or attend the WI Craft group or you may have joined a support group at the museum. These groups are either volunteer led or have significant volunteer component. The museum would be a lot quieter without our amazing partners who do so much for the community.
Lockdown and the Future of Volunteering
Throughout lockdown our volunteers have remained busy, researching the collection, sharing our posts on social media. External groups have worked hard to create content for digital exhibitions. This has included the Life of Victor Freed and Aberdare Park.
We look forward to being able to bring back volunteering to the museum building when we reopen. From a welcoming face when you arrive, the collection volunteers researching and preserving our heritage and the dedicated volunteers who are using the museum to serve the community- volunteering will remain an indispensable part of our identity and that of the Cynon Valley. Our community is strongest when it comes together, volunteering brings us all together.
How Can You Support Cynon Valley Museum?
If you are interested in volunteering remotely whilst the museum is closed or would like to sign up ready to be contacted when we reopen please follow the link to get in contact. If you would like to support the museum you can share our posts on social media, chose to use Amazon Smile or you could make a monthly or one off donation to the museum, Thank you