We caught up with one of our great volunteers, Ian, who has volunteered for the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society for over 5 years. His experiences and dedication allowed him to pursue work in the Arts and Heritage sector and he now works for Glasgow Museums, sharing his Mackintosh knowledge and enthusiasm with others.
Ian (centre) with fellow CRMS staff and volunteers.
Q1. How and why did you first get involved with volunteering for the CRM Society?
I actually first got involved with the society around 6 or so years ago. At the time I was unemployed and was looking for somewhere to volunteer to help gain new skills. I saw an advert the society had placed looking for volunteers and having an art school background, I already knew about CRM and the church. The job role seemed far more interesting and involved than many other volunteering roles I had looked into.
Q2. What roles/tasks have you undertaken while volunteering for the society?
I’ve actually had a wide range of roles working with the society. Initially simply in a front of house/meet and greet role. This steadily expanded to working in the retail shop, to helping deliver tours of the building, to various admin tasks, to helping out with the website and social media. I was kept extremely busy when our dear friend and colleague Irene sadly passed away, when I seemed to inherit a lot her roles in helping run the shop and managing the administrative side of things.
Q3. How has volunteering helped you? Which skills have you developed?
Volunteering with the society has helped me immensely. I personally feel that I am only in the position I am in now (supervisor in a Glasgow museum) because of work I did with the society. Not only was it a major confidence booster after I had spent so long unemployed, the extremely positive and friendly nature of the CRMS team was amazing, and really helped me push myself and expose myself to new skills and experiences.
Q4. Any tips or tricks for others looking to get involved in Heritage volunteering?
Personally I feel the best tip I could give is to put in as much time as you possibly can. I treated my time at the CRMS like a real job, working twice a week for nearly five years straight. I feel because I showed such commitment folks at the society like Stuart, Dylan and Trish really trusted me and felt like they could leave me tasks knowing I would finish them and do the society proud. I feel this trust lead me to be able to be involved in more aspects of the society, such as being trusted with helping manage the website and social media, ordering new stock for the shop etc
Q5. Do you have a favourite memory from your volunteering?
Honestly my favourite memories from my time are simply getting to know the wonderful team at CRMS. From day one they welcomed me with open arms and really made me feel a part of the team. As I mentioned, I came from being fairly long term unemployed and had no experience working in the heritage sector, this made all the difference to me and made me strive to work hard and not let the team down. Also while it was sadly cut short, some of the real highlights in my life was working alongside Irene in the shop as she really took me under her wing and we enjoyed the best working partnership I’ve ever experienced with one of the nicest people I have ever met (it helped I was always ready to make a fresh cup of tea!)
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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.