UCL News


Call for volunteers - the Touching Heritage Project

8 August 2012

UCL Museums and Public Engagement are looking for new volunteers to take part in the Touching Heritage project, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


The Touching Heritage Project aims to widen participation in cultural activities by taking museum objects out to hospitals and other healthcare communities (e.g. care homes) that would otherwise be excluded from museum activities.

Nic Vogelpoel, UCL's Outreach Coordinator for the project, explained: "In our research, we have found that handling museum objects can have a positive impact on patients' health and wellbeing. The program is a great example of how the heritage sector can interact with the wider community outside of museum spaces.

"This is an ideal and exciting opportunity for UCL students to get involved. Whether you're someone who's interested in heritage and museums, or in health and wellbeing, or just have an interest in volunteering. This program will give you the chance to improve your communication skills, work in a supportive team environment, and positively impact on the day-to-day experiences of people in our community by bringing heritage and cultural activities to them in times of need."

One-to-one and group sessions led by facilitators will focus on the cultural, social and natural diversity of the objects in relation to participants' own health and wellbeing. This will give patients the chance to discuss, handle and learn about the objects. Commitment to the project will vary depending on availability. Ideally, volunteers will be available and willing to participate in a short training programme in September 2012 and able to conduct sessions from September 2012 - February 2013, on a weekly or twice-weekly basis.

The training programme will teach volunteers everything needed to know about facilitating object-handling sessions and will give some valuable skills in running arts/heritage-in-health activities. The training is also hands-on and practical and will be full of fun, educational and team-based activities. By the end of the program, volunteers will be ready to conduct object-handling sessions in a range of healthcare settings and be part of an inclusive and supportive team, ready to take museums to people who don't have access to them.

All volunteers will be mentored and supported by an Outreach Co-ordinator.

If you are interested in volunteering for this project, please contact Nic Vogelpoel at n.vogelpoel@ucl.ac.uk or on 020 7679 2211

Image courtesy of UCL Museums and Public Engagement