In the second of our Volunteer Spotlight interviews we asked our resident super sleuth Elizabeth about her experiences working as the Society’s volunteer researcher and library assistant.
The Mackintosh Resource Centre at Mackintosh Queen’s Cross, the headquarters of the CRM Society.
Q1. How, when and why did you first get involved with volunteering for the CRM Society?
I took up volunteering 4 years ago after I retired from full time employment. I wanted to follow up on my interest in Mackintosh and his contemporaries, and also do something which would involve using the skills I had built up during my working life.
Q2. What roles/tasks have you undertaken while volunteering for the society?
As a former librarian and information professional I look after the library at the Mackintosh Church and also answer enquiries by email which people send from all over the world. In the past I have also arranged for groups to come and visit Mackintosh buildings in Glasgow and have helped as a guide during events in the Church.
Q3. What has been the best aspect of your volunteering?
Some of the best aspects of volunteering have been meeting people, not just the wide range of visitors but the Mackintosh experts and staff in the Society and in other Mackintosh properties. I have learned a huge amount from all of them. In answering enquiries from other people I have learned a lot about families, buildings, interiors and furniture requiring more in depth searching through books and journals and websites.
Q4. Any tips or tricks for others looking to get involved in Heritage volunteering?
As for any tips I would say that volunteering can lead on to a great journey of discovery, not just about Mackintosh but of a whole fascinating area of history which still has relevance today. You could start to look at architecture and design differently and could learn a lot in the process and pass your enthusiasm on to other people. Take the chance to do it and enjoy it!
Q5. What have you discovered about the Mackintosh world that you didn’t know before?
I have found out far more than I ever thought about the whole area of Mackintosh, Art Nouveau and the Glasgow style and other artists and architects of the age. It has led me to find out more about the history of Glasgow and how Mackintosh fitted into that as he was not alone in creating new ideas in architecture. Similar movements were going on in Europe and America some of which I did not know too much about and which I have followed up on.
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We are always happy to welcome new volunteers to the Society, you don’t need to be a member or have any previous experience working in an Arts & Heritage background.
You can see our current list of opportunities and sign up for updates here.
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