Venture Arts is an organisation renowned for providing high quality art workshops for adults and young people who have learning difficulties.
My name is Paul and I work for Venture Arts as a Support Assistant. Our volunteer experience came about from a phone call to Visitor Services supervisor Karen Brackenridge at Manchester Museum; we enquired as to whether it would be possible to undertake work experience so that we could learn what it would be like to work in a museum environment. Karen just so happened to be looking for volunteers to take part in an Enrichment Programme that she had created, so my phone call was exactly what she had been waiting for.
The programme allowed us to undertake a scheme of work which included an interview and induction day, how to prepare a gallery, helping others, learning about the Museum, Healthy and Safety, customer care/service, my favourite things, talking about my experience to friends and finally, social time.
“I really enjoyed the work experience, as I had a genuine interest in Manchester Museum. I spent time researching coins, which was my favourite gallery. I got to know the staff and enjoyed the interaction. I was willing and very dedicated to taking on the role, as it made me feel good; I really liked seeing how busy museums are.”
“I found the work experience positive; I became involved with all tasks at hand, cleaning display cabinets, stocking up maps, and conducting health and safety checks; I loved helping out with the visitors.”
“Today I was able to see behind the scenes at Manchester Museum; I saw the crocodile mummy which looked quite ancient, and there was also a bison with its brown fluffy fur. The Egyptian mummy was quite interesting to look at with its dazzling gold colours and its other colours like green and brown. There was the large stuffed alligator which was painted green.”
“Today I visited the conservation room and met the senior conservator; she told us all about the work that they do.”
We are working hard to establish and benchmark this scheme of work, which can be adapted and developed to meet the abilities of others with learning and physical disabilities; most importantly we aim to enhance a sense of personal achievement.