Black and white sketch of Verdant Works Museum mill in Dundee
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Volunteer Interview: Seamus

To give insight into the wonderful world of being a volunteer with Dundee Heritage Trust, we had a chat with some of our existing volunteers, who help make Verdant Works and Discovery Point truly special.

A student in Dundee, Seamus is our Digital Arts Volunteer. As Seamus explains, volunteering has encompassed more than just creating sketches.

How long have you been a volunteer with Dundee Heritage Trust?

“I think it has been around a couple of years now! I first emailed the heritage trust around winter of 2021 to offer to volunteer.”

What made you decide to be a volunteer?

“I’ve always been interested in museums growing up. However, it wasn’t until recently that I realised that I would like to try helping out, and maybe pursuing the interest further into a potential career.

“It was a visit to Verdant Works with my grandparents – my first trip there – that inspired me to try to volunteer. That was actually quite a few years ago, just before we all went into lockdown, but doesn’t actually feel so long ago.

“It stuck in my head, until I worked up the courage to ask about volunteering; I wanted to ask if the Heritage Trust needed any art orientated volunteering. I knew that Dundee Heritage Trust had people volunteering as guides through their two Museums, however I don’t find I’m great at speaking to people; I am good at art. If they needed any help with that, then I was more than happy to volunteer my services!

“As an aside, as someone who really loves museums, getting to spend more time in them and seeing behind-the-scenes is always a bonus.”

What does your role involve? What skills do you get to utilise and showcase?

“I’m technically classed as a ‘Digital Arts Volunteer’ and so far this has involved me helping with brochure design for the museums and some illustrations for use in any social media campaigns or whatever is useful.

“I don’t feel I have a particular branch of art that I work in, so I’m more than happy to try my hand at anything really – though I would say illustration tasks are my favourite. Skills-wise, I’d say that it’s more of a constant practise of everything you have learned and gradually getting better with time. I would say I’m quite good at art but I definitely have a lot more to learn!

“My role with Dundee Heritage Trust is not always arts orientated; I have also been able to help out with a few live events at Verdant Works. At ‘Women with a Voice’, I welcomed visitors into the Museum and showed them where the event was taking place, alongside taking some photographs throughout the event. A more recent example was the Verdant Works Christmas Fayre, which I helped out at.

“In that sense, volunteering has been a lot more than just helping out with the occasional art needed! Helping out at things like this helps me develop more communication skills.

“I have been getting experience in a lot of different ways; more than you would think the volunteer title would entail!”


Black and white line drawing of RRS Discovery in sail.
Discovery in Sail by Seamus Ross

What’s been your favourite moment of volunteering so far?

“My favourite moment would probably be helping out with the Verdant Works Christmas Fayre, but doing illustrations of RRS Discovery and Verdant Works was also fun.”

What would you say to someone who is considering being a volunteer?

“Just go for it, you won’t know unless you try.

“As someone with anxiety, it was quite scary for me to just go and email Dundee Heritage Trust about volunteering; especially about something they weren’t necessarily advertising for. But every person I have spoken to thus far has been nothing but welcoming and nice to speak to.

“It’s an ongoing process but I believe in my case it has been very much worth it. Anxiety makes things seem a lot scarier than what the reality is.

“Even if you don’t think you have skills which particularly suit the volunteering archetype you should still get in touch! There’s a lot more than guiding with which you could help with. Everyone has their own skill set to bring to the table, just think of how yours could benefit Dundee Heritage Trust, or any volunteering opportunity in general. Then, like me, you may help out with even more than you thought you could, so in the long run you’re not only benefiting others but also yourself!”

Black and white sketch of Verdant Works Museum mill in Dundee
Verdant Works by Seamus Ross

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