Volunteer for Us

We volunteer at the Museum to share our enthusiasm for pens and our city’s history. Our contributions are essential in maintaining the museum’s operations, and in return, we can engage with people from all over the world, gain valuable work experience, and enjoy the diverse collection of quills, nibs, and typewriters in the museum!

Our volunteers range from the museum’s original founders in 2001 and other long serving volunters to students who were so engaged during their placements that they chose to stay on. Together, we form a collective of historians, pen aficionados, and calligraphers collaborating in the heritage and tourism industry. Our dedication is valued by visitors, who consistently praise our friendliness and knowledge as the highlight of their museum experience.

Interested in being part of this Museum and contributing to our cause? Consider volunteering at the Pen Museum!

Roles

Visitor Guides

Our Visitor Guides take pride in creating an exceptional first impression for all Museum visitors. Serving as the Museum’s front-of-house, they warmly welcome guests, process admissions, and provide an overview of the museum’s offerings. Additionally, Visitor Guides offer insights on the selection of nibs, inks, and pens available for purchase in the Museum shop.

As a shadow to an experienced volunteer, you will gain hands-on experience in visitor greetings and using the till. You will receive a volunteer handbook and personalised guidance on our merchandise. Familiarising yourself with the local area is essential for providing tourist information, as is developing knowledge of the collection to assist visitors.

Successful Visitor Guides consistently exhibit a friendly and helpful demeanour. They thrive on engaging in conversations and are driven by their passion to deliver exceptional visitor experiences. Their enthusiasm for promoting the museum is evident, and they often go above and beyond by learning about the museum’s history and its architecture, as well as sharing their knowledge and passion for stationery and writing equipment.

Nib Maker

Our Pen Nib Makers demonstrate the operation of museum fly presses, allowing visitors to create their own souvenir nib. Throughout the demonstration, the nib makers educate visitors on nib design, the technical process, and the lives of women nib makers.

An experienced volunteer will provide training on safe press operation and nib making. You will receive reading materials on technical processes and the lives of nineteenth-century women nib makers. Additionally, you can research the Victorian pen trade and the collection items housed in the workshop area.

Successful nib makers prioritise the health and safety of themselves and our visitors. They have attention to detail that, with practice, allows them to excel in nib making and maintain the vintage presses. Confidence in speaking in front of a group and addressing questions is essential. An interest in industrial history, working-class history, and/or metalwork is highly beneficial.

Activity Lead

Our Activity Leads and Volunteer Calligraphers engage visitors in various writing activities at the museum, enriching the visitor experience and promoting involvement with our calligraphy shop and classes. They demonstrate different calligraphy styles, oversee the Typewriter Challenge, and provide Graphology readings.

You will have the opportunity to shadow experienced volunteers, learning how to interact with and captivate visitors. There is also potential to develop your own activities and pursue creative projects within the museum. Familiarising yourself with the items in the museum shop and Philip Poole Room will enable you to guide and assist visitors.

Successful volunteer Activity Leads possess the ability to gauge when to engage visitors in discussions and activities, and when to allow them to explore independently. Ideally, they have a hobby involving writing instruments, such as penmanship, calligraphy, or drawing, that they are willing to demonstrate and teach to others.

Availability

Ideally Volunteers commit to a regular day each week. This helps us plan and ensure the museum can operate bookings in advance.

Role Development

Project Work

This opportunity is available to dedicated volunteers who regularly contribute on the museum floor. Participants will gain access to our behind-the-scenes projects, including research, collections care, and marketing. If you are a regular volunteer and would like more information about the project list, or if you have your own idea, please reach out to the Operations Manager.

Duty Management

Open to experienced Pen Museum volunteers who have consistently excelled in one or more roles. They play a key role in ensuring the museum can open to the public, delivering an exceptional visitor experience, and leading their team of volunteers. They are invited to join the Management Group, a forum where any volunteer can provide feedback and suggest ideas.

Work experience is crucial for your CV. We encourage our volunteers to specify the type of experience they seek, allowing us to ensure their time at the museum is as beneficial for them as it is for the museum.

Apply to Volunteer with Us

Please send an email to Nigel Evans at nigel.evans@penmuseum.org.uk

Include the following details

Your contact details and interest in specific role(s) at the museum.

The reasons for wanting to volunteer at the Pen Museum.

Upon receiving applications, we will reach out to arrange an informal meeting with the operations manager to further discuss the volunteering process and provide a tour of the museum.

Feel free to use the same email address for any questions regarding your application.

If you’d like to discuss volunteering with the Pen Museum before applying, you are welcome to visit and chat with the team during opening hours.  Our volunteering opportunities are open to anyone aged 16 or over.

We really look forward the hearing from you.