Tag Archives: Volunteers

Depot Discoveries

The Museum’s depot in Acton Town is a brilliant place. It’s full of fantastic objects, from trains to hat badges, posters to taxis. The Depot is a working museum store housing over 370,000 objects, and as such the number of labels and text panels we have on display needs to be limited. Objects are moved in and out of the store on an almost daily basis, and work is done by the Museum’s curators and volunteers throughout the year, resulting in objects changing their location regularly.


The Museum opens the Depot up to visitors for guided tours on a monthly basis, and twice a year we open the entire space up to the public during our Open Weekends. At present there are only a few pieces of interpretation around the store, so often visitors are left to guess what some of the items they are looking at are, or reply on staff and volunteers to advise them.

At London Transport Museum we have a fantastic group of Museum Friends and volunteers, each with their own incredible knowledge and opinions on items in our care. Some are involved with heritage outings, and others spend many hours carefully restoring objects to their former glory. Many of the Friends have a history of working for London Transport in some way, and as such can offer invaluable insight into the history of an object – how it worked, what it was used for, and why it was eventually decommissioned.

In the summer of 2011, a new trial project was launched in partnership with some Friends and volunteers. Called Depot Discoveries, this is a film based project which involves capturing the knowledge and stories the Friends have about objects in our collection on camera. The volunteers were trained in how to make films, so work both behind and in front of the camera, and so far seven short films have been made (they are in the editing process at the moment). One of these features our volunteers Dilwyn speaking about the vast ticket collection we have at our store. The films are all shot in situ with the objects they are referring to, allowing for viewers to gain an insight into how they work, what they represent and when they were used.

The plan is for new labels to be created in the coming months, each featuring a link to the films on YouTube. Visitors to the Depot will then be able to access these stories on their smart phone devices, using the Depot’s wifi network, thus bringing these objects to life. If it’s a success, we may even look to getting some devices for people to borrow, but we shall see!

It’s early days at the moment, but there has been a lot of enthusiasm for the project so far. Are you a Museum Friend or volunteer? Would you like to speak on camera about an object at our Depot? Please contact Jen Kavanagh at jennifer.kavanagh@ltmuseum.co.uk if so!

For more information about visiting our Depot, head to http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/museum-depot/guided-tours

Volunteers launch tours on the Art and Poster collection

On Saturday 19th November two of our volunteers, Tom Cavanagh and John Dodd, delivered the first official tours to the public on the museum’s art and poster collection at the Acton Depot.  Visitors had the opportunity to take a peek at the extensive collection of works held in the art and poster stores, and learn all about how many of the works were made, why they were commissioned and how they came to be in the London Transport Museum’s collection.  The art and poster stores are usually closed off to the public, and can only be accessed whilst either being supervised by staff or as part of a tour.  Access to the Museum’s art and poster collection has been growing steadily this year, with a number of Poster Parade exhibitions at the museum in Covent Garden and regular features on the museum’s blog.  And now we have tours of the collection too!

Throughout this year a number of our volunteers have spent many days being trained by our Safety and Citizenship, Visitor Services and Curatorial staff.  One of the great things about volunteering with London Transport Museum is that our staff have a very hands on attitude, which allows our volunteers the opportunity to work closely alongside staff giving them a great insight into any tasks and projects they get involved with.  Our volunteers have worked very hard researching their content, practising delivering and ironing out any small creases to the point they are feeling very comfortable with giving tours to willing visitors.  Our next scheduled tours will be in January 2012, so make sure to book a ticket while you still can!

Sorting Bus Timetables

Fred Sorting Timetables

On Thursday 3rd November volunteers were present at the LTM Depot in Acton to assist the curatorial department with sorting and accessioning ephemera material to add to the collection.  The Museum receives a vast amount of material through public and private donations, and volunteers are on hand on a regular basis to help out.

Brian Logging Details

Fred Ivey assisted with checking bus timetables for duplications which had recently been donated to the museum, with timetables ranging in production dates from 1965 through to 2005, so there was plenty to keep him busy with. Brian Hawkins meanwhile took on the task of adding timetables to the collections IMS system, so that they could be officially logged and searched for by our curators to assist with future queries and museum research.

Curatorial Interns

The curatorial department has been keen to support the next generation of curators and conservators and as a result has achieved a highly active internship programme. Over the past 12 months the curatorial department has welcomed 9 interns from 6 different university postgraduate courses into the Museum. These interns have been working alongside our curators on both Collections Management and Collections Development projects both at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden and at the Acton Depot.

Intern Charlotte

The department has just played host to a conservation student, Charlotte who has been involved in many activities at the museum including helping the curators install a Poster Parade and monitoring for pests in the galleries and at the depot. Her main task however has been to work with the Collections Management team at the Acton Depot with the uniform collection.

Charlotte has been undertaking a collections review and has been assessing the conditions of all our textile collection, cleaning and freezing items where appropriate.

The curatorial department has also just welcomed two new postgraduate students from the University of Leicester who will be working in the department until September.