Gillian Conabeer has demonstrated the value in volunteering after securing her dream job with the Museum of London. Keen to pursue a career in heritage, Gillian believes the experience she gained during her time at Canterbury Museums & Galleries helped her to achieve this goal.

Gillian Conabeer started volunteering at Canterbury Heritage Museum when she was still at school. When she started she didn’t know that she wanted a career in museums but knew that she loved history and thought it would be excellent experience before starting University. However, it was through this volunteering which made Gillian decide to pursue a career in museums.

“As a volunteer, you get a real insight into how museums are run backstage. There’s a wide variety of things you can get involved in as a volunteer with Canterbury museums, but my personal favourite was working with the collections. Being told all my life not to touch things in museums, I loved being allowed to handle collection material.”

The heritage sector is highly competitive, however, volunteering at the museum ultimately gave Gillian the confidence and experience to apply for roles that she couldn’t have done otherwise.

Following a HLF curatorial traineeship in Edinburgh, Gilliam is now an archivist at the Museum Of London Archaeology (MOLA); “I am so grateful to Canterbury museums, especially to Collections Manager Craig Bowen, for teaching me so much and inspiring me to pursue a career in museums.”

Volunteering is an excellent way to learn new skills and meet new people whether you are interested in getting into a career in museums, or would just like to help out.

Volunteers gain a wide experience of museum work whilst helping out with many of the activities such as events, exhibitions, collections research, archiving and marketing.

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Artefacts in exhibition case The Beaney Museum

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