The museum has many volunteers, about 140 at the last count, and being the type of people that we are someone needs to keep tabs on them all and the things that they get involved in. Nominally this person is Sam Clift (Volunteer Co-ordinator), but being a very busy man, he has a volunteer who helps with the administration of the volunteers. Who is this saintly figure? Stand forward John Skinner, seen below at the computer screen.
John has museums in his blood, as his father worked at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and prior to volunteering John worked at the London Transport Museum for 12 years – so I think we can safely say that he enjoyed his time with the LTM. Before that his entire career was with Transport for London and its predesessors in both buses and travel information. Having taken early retirement, he has now been volunteering for some 18 months, maintaining that he was initially bullied into it by his former colleagues; I have to say that I somewhat doubt this.
John spends one morning a week in the office with Sam, and above you can see the pair of them trying to work out how the Museum’s CRM (Client Record Management) system works, not with a great deal of success, I have to say. Administering such things as volunteers’ expenses and timesheets are a major part of John’s contribution to the smooth running of the unit, and he also helps with routine e-mails and any statistical work that requires deft manipulation of a spreadsheet.
Why was John unable to tear himself away from Covent Garden? He cited the enjoyable team work and excellent working relationships with colleagues as his reasons, and these were very obvious to me in my time in the office with John. However, I didn’t get offered a coffee at all: nothing personal , I’m sure……..
Dave Olney, Volunteer