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 by Volunteers
The Museum was saved and reopened by volunteers. 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 an important part of who we are. If you have visited the museum you will have seen some of the volunteers behind the front desk, offering warm welcomes. Our volunteers on the front desk are invaluable. They also help us raise money for the museum by taking donations, selling museum lottery tickets, and operating the museum’s shop. The museum would not be the same without our volunteers at the front desk.
Preserved by Volunteers
The collection held at the museum would not look the same without volunteers. Cynon Valley Museum volunteers have make 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.
Researched by Volunteers
Since the pandemic, our volunteer-led exhibitions have not been possible. However, our volunteers have turned to writing history blogs for our website! The ‘Stories from the Collection’ blogs focus on telling stories of the different items in our collection and the history of the Cynon Valley. Thanks to our volunteers we have been able to share and preserve important information about our community, its history, and cultural heritage. The museum has gone from having very little online presence to attracting and engaging audiences in the local community and further afield!
Some examples include:
The Sport of Quoits in the Cynon Valley, written by Robert Glare
Memories of the Silver Screen, written by Geoffrey Evans
Women Supporting the Miners, written by Wendy Donovan
Pamela ‘Mother’ Shepherd, written by Sarah Bryant
Volunteering during Covid-19
Our volunteers have supported us throughout the pandemic. They have helped us adapt and improve every step of the way. During our first reopening in November 2020, our volunteers were instrumental in opening our doors again after being closed since March 2020. They assisted with ensuring all Covid-19 guidelines were followed. They were equipped to ensure visitors were kept safe and informed, during an uncertain time for everyone.
Since 2021, the museum has welcomed nine new volunteers to our team, and they have helped towards making the museum the place it was before the pandemic. Most importantly, our volunteers have kept morale high by ensuring visitors have felt comfortable and happy to be in the museum again.
Why do you volunteer?
We asked some of our volunteers why they enjoy volunteering with us, and what they have learned along the way.
I have enjoyed my time at the Museum. It has also improved my customer skills, I like greeting and meeting new people who come in to look around and serving in the Museum shop. I started Volunteering as my children are getting older and no longer need me in the home, and thought I would give back to the community.
Ever since I was young I have enjoyed visiting museums so I was thrilled to be given the chance to volunteer at our wonderful local museum. It has also provided me with the perfect opportunity to become involved with the community, which I absolutely love, and to meet new people.
As well as this I get to view the fantastic art exhibitions and take part in the research. For example, I have just finished writing a piece for the forthcoming Caradog Festival exhibition.
I hope people will come to know me as a friendly face at Cynon Valley Museum as well as St Elvan’s where I also volunteer.
Shortly after moving to Aberdare in 2017, I discovered the charming Cynon Valley Museum. Keen to contribute something to the local community who have been so welcoming to me, I have been volunteering here since October 2021. (I would have done this sooner, if not for COVID19).
Meeting a number of interesting individuals with a diverse range of experience and talents during the course of my duties, I have also learned more about the history of the area I have come to call home.
I make a point of bringing all house guests to the museum and each and every one of them has thanked me for this charming experience.
I’m a newcomer to the team, only joining you last September. I really enjoy the job. I’ve always lived and worked within the Cynon Valley community and have a deep interest in the social history of the area. I enjoy meeting people and now, in retirement, I can still share my knowledge and skills with others in a far less formal way.
Commemoration of Geoffrey Evans
We cannot thank our volunteers without acknowledging the recent passing of Geoffrey Evans.
Geoffrey had always been a supporter of the museum. From the very beginning, he campaigned alongside so many others to keep the museum open to the public. Following the museum’s reopening, he joined as a volunteer, quickly becoming an important collection volunteer with CVMT and RCT CBC Heritage Services. In this role he helped care for over 20,000 items in the museum’s collection, meeting members of the public and helping ensure donations to the museum collection were processed to ensure the museum remained relevant and a true reflection of the history of the Cynon valley.
Geoffrey’s recent contributions to the museum include his instrumental role as a volunteer for the Jewish History Association of South Wales, identifying items in the collection with Jewish Heritage. He wrote the guide to Aberdare Park which went on to be the core text for the exhibition at the museum and more recently, Geoff was a regular writer for the museum’s website and for our Friends’ newsletter.
Cynon Valley Museum will be dedicating its upcoming exhibition ‘The Life of Caradog’ to Geoffrey Evans to celebrate his great love of local music, choir, theatre, and operatic.
How Can You Support Cynon Valley Museum?
If you are interested in volunteering 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.