Reflecting on volunteering for the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award


A look back at the start of their volunteering from one of our Duke of Edinburgh Volunteers

Hi, I’m Emilia and I began volunteering at Newton Abbot Museum in April 2022 as part of my Silver Duke of Edinburgh award (I am now working towards my Gold). I really enjoy my volunteering sessions at the museum, and I have learnt so many interesting facts about the history of Newton Abbot.

Visiting the Museum storeroom is one of my favourite things to do. It is like an Aladdin’s cave, full of so many interesting objects that show so much about the history of Newton Abbot. In this photo, myself and another volunteer are sorting through the objects to use in the museum handling collection. I found it so amazing to be able to hold some of the artefacts and being able to get a closer look at them. I also very much enjoyed being able to show these artefacts to the visitors.

My volunteering sessions are always very fun and very informative, and I always really enjoy them. I have found out many amazing facts about Newton Abbot’s history- such as, the visit from the late Queen in 1952, the history of the railway, and many other interesting things.

The museum also has an incredible collection of artefacts from many different historical eras. I have learnt things that I never expected to ever learn!!

Volunteering at the museum always brightens up my day. I always learn something new every time I’m here and most weeks I am doing something different. I help out with front of house work, sorting the artefacts in the storeroom, working on the front desk, working on computers in the office, helping with the social media, and so much more.

On the first Saturday of each month, the museum runs a ‘Make and Create’ session for a few hours.

I really enjoy joining in with these sessions as they are always really creative and fun, and I enjoy helping with crafts. The photos shown above are from a Make and Create session I helped out with a few months ago, where we were making sea creature themed puppets to use for a puppet show with Isabella’s Story Bike. Make and Create sessions are really enjoyable as it also gives me the opportunity to chat to all the families at the sessions about the museum and find out about their interests. At the Make and Create sessions there is always something different and exciting to help with.

Recently, I have made poems, paper butterflies, puppets, scrapbooks, origami and much more. These sessions are some of my favourites to volunteer with.

This photo is one of the butterflies made by a child at the Make and Create sessions. These butterflies were made out of recycled materials and they were inspired by the butterfly collection at the museum. It was so fun to get involved with this Make and Create session- I even got to make a butterfly myself!!

Before Christmas (2022), I also got to help out with and watch the Tudor Christmas reading event of ‘A Night Before Tudor Christmas’ it was very enjoyable to watch and to also see the excitement on the children’s faces and how enthusiastic they were.

The reading took place in front of the large fireplace in the museum, and it certainly put me in a Christmas spirit! Helping out with fun events like these make volunteering at the museum extremely enjoyable and I always look forward to my volunteering sessions here.