There are currently 12 volunteers that support the curator in the day to day running of the museum. There are three teams: Public Openings, Collections and Groups. Volunteers can stick to one team or work across multiple teams.
The Public Openings team assist our visitors when we open to the public, doing tasks such as operating the till, answering questions and welcoming visitors. Their shifts are either morning, afternoon or the whole day, depending on their preference and availability. We ask for a minimum of one shift a month but you are welcome to do more than this. The Public Openings team may also help us at external events, like fetes and fun days.
The Collections team help catalogue and maintain our collection. Typically they will focus on one area, such photographs, objects or archives, but can work across the whole collection. Tasks for the Collections volunteers include labelling items, keeping databases up to date, digitising items and responding to research enquiries from the public. A shift is usually between 3 hours and a full day, depending on their preference and availability. All our Collections volunteers come in once a week.
The Groups team facilitate all of our group bookings, except schools. These groups are varied, ranging from scouts and brownies through to U3A. Visits can be during the day or in the evenings but only on weekdays and typically last a couple of hours. Our Groups volunteers may operate the till, serve refreshments, answer questions and give a short talk on the history of Essex Police or a buildings tour.
Who Can Volunteer?
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate work placements at this time.
To volunteer with us you must:
Be 18 or over
Pass police vetting* (we will submit this as part of your volunteer application)
All training is provided so no previous experience is required.
*Internal applicants do not need additional vetting.
What We Offer
Full training for your role(s)
Collections care and general museum training through SHARE Museum East
References and/or evidence of the skills you've gained
Flexible hours that fit around your commitments
The chance to gain experience in a variety of museum roles
Group Visits Volunteers
The museum welcomes groups of all ages for private viewings of the museum and various other activities. These may include a talk on the history of Essex Police, a tour of the Edwardian HQ buildings, a visit to the Force Control Room and childrens' trails. Adults are also offered refreshments during their visits. Your role as a Group Visits Volunteer is to supervise visitors, encourage them to ask questions and help them where needed. No prior knowledge is needed, as you will be with an experienced volunteer to learn from. You can choose hours that suit you, and will not be expected to do a visit by yourself. The Group Visits Volunteers are led by Malcolm Taylor, who will contact you directly when bookings are arranged to ask for availability. Visits vary, with bookings taken for mornings, afternoons and evenings, although they are generally on weekdays. In general visits will last a couple of hours, although may occasionally last up to 3 hours depending on the number of activities booked. You should expect to arrive half an hour before the group is booked to arrive, and to leave shortly after the visit ends. We recommend that you do at least one visit a month, although demand will be higher in some months.
We open to the public every Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and on Wednesdays in school holidays. Your duties will include serving customers at the till, supervising them around the museum, answering questions, helping with crafts or trails and some general housekeeping such as cleaning. Many of our displays encourage interaction, whether that's trying on uniform, solving a 1970s crime scene or asking for more information about our thought-provoking content. You'll support visitors with this, guiding them through tasks and helping them learn about policing. You can choose hours that suit you, either a morning, afternoon or whole day, and you will be supported by our Curator and existing volunteer team. Full training will be provided, and you will not be expected to learn everything off by heart - just knowing where to find the information or who to ask is sufficient. The Public Opening Volunteers are led by our Curator, who will send out the dates each month asking for availability. We recommend coming in once a month, although you can come in more often if you wish.
Public Openings - Team Leader
Each of our volunteer teams have a team leader who will check availability for shifts, take bookings and help train new volunteers. As a Public Openings Team Leader you'll be booking volunteers in for shifts, helping at larger events and helping our Curator set up for events held at the museum, such as our book sale and craft fair. You'll also be taking bookings for outreach events, such as stalls at school fetes and community events, and arranging volunteer cover for them where needed. You can choose hours that suit you, and can volunteer from home for most tasks. We recommend that you have your own transport to get to and from events, and all travel will be reimbursed. As a team leader you'll be led by our Curator, who can give full training and guidance, and will accompany you on your first few events until you are comfortable in the role.
Meet The Team
I started volunteering at the Museum in 2005/6. I enjoy the work as I meet a lot of different people; many with different stories of their links with the police service – as a police officer or member of staff, through assisting them in some way, occasionally as the result of being a victim of crime and few that shall we say have had ‘professional experience’ of the criminal justice process. But they all add to the pleasure of working here.
My current job is leading the team of volunteers responsible for guiding parties around the Museum. We try to put the history in context perhaps telling tales about those who lived and worked at Headquarters, how policing in Essex started and the changes that have occurred along the way.
My favourite object? Possibly the cell door as you are actually touching history, and the stories it could tell, and it portrays what we want from a police service – firmness and reliability.