Volunteering at TNMOC: variety & a CV booster
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Jill Clarke has volunteered at the Museum for more than five years and enjoys the variety it brings and the new skills that she has developed.
“I first visited Block H on Bletchley Park about ten years ago when the idea of a computing museum was just a twinkle in some volunteers’ eyes. I came to see Colossus and was given a tantalising glimpse of some vintage machines that lay behind some double doors. I made a mental note to keep an eye on developments.
“Then, five years ago, as the Museum was taking shape I joined as volunteer. Volunteer No 64 to be precise. Since then, I’ve become involved in projects and activities that I could never have foreseen back then.
“I really enjoy how the Museum can give me a different perspective on my day job as a trainer and software developer. I could have volunteered to do the same sort of work I do for a living, but I didn’t want that. I wanted to do something different – and I’ve certainly had that!
“One of my highlights has been helping to design and project manage the Museum’s Software Gallery. I felt that the Museum needed to have a focus on software and people – not just hardware. And the chance came to do just that. It introduced me to lots of new skills and new ways of looking at how the general public approach Museum displays. That’s even helped me in my day job.
“Currently, one of my roles is to help with the Museum library. That harks back to an interest I developed at school and it’s fun putting what I learned then into practice today.
“I’d really like to see more women volunteers. I notice that they make particularly good guides and stewards. I see them in action using people skills to great effect.
“The Museum is a great place to help develop skills that will mean something on a CV, so it should appeal to lots of young people.
“Volunteers can do as little or as much as suits their situation. Recently, for example, I helped shortlist entries in the Museum’s Ada Lovelace competition and, although that was quite a lot of work, it was great fun and culminated in a fascinating visit to the prize giving at Oxford University.
“The Museum isn’t all about old tech. One of my favourite aspects of being a volunteer is the Bytes Festivals during the long school holidays. The festivals are designed for all the family and to show how technology is advancing – and I get to play with lots of new technologies that make an appearance.”
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