Burgh House Volunteers

24 October 2014

The support and dedication offered by our team of volunteer stewards and museum assistants has been crucial to the running of Burgh House since it reopened as a cultural centre and museum in 1979. Most of the volunteers staff the front desk during museum opening hours and public events – welcoming guests and offering them information about the House and the current exhibitions on display. We thought we would have a chat with some of the volunteers to get to know their distinctive backgrounds, what brought them to Burgh House and what they like most about volunteering.

Front-of-house stewards

My name is Suzanne Pinkerton and I have been a volunteer steward at Burgh House for the past 20 years – I’m not sure I can do 20 more, but I’ll try! What I love most about volunteering here is getting to know local people – who then often say ‘hello’ to me on Hampstead High Street – and, of course, my lovely managers! Before I retired, I worked as a professional classical singer and a foreign languages editor for a variety of companies across Europe. I found out about Burgh House through a friend I knew from Hampstead Parish Church who suggested, as I was working as a linguist part time, that volunteering at the House might fill in the gaps (I had already retired from both the singing and my main job at this point).

My name is Frieda and I have worked as a volunteer steward since I retired in 2000. I volunteer at Burgh House because it is a gem of a house, and I think it is worth nurturing. With its delightful small garden and café and friendly staff, Burgh House exudes welcoming warmth – an ambience well appreciated, and reciprocated, by its many visitors. Before retiring, I worked as a Conference and Seminar Secretary to the Director of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine for over 30 years. I first found out about Burgh House during a History of Hampstead evening course at New End School, which later led to me getting involved in the successful local effort to save the House for the community. Once I retired, I was delighted to be able to offer Burgh House my time.

Museum and learning assistants

My name is Ruth Brit and I have worked as a volunteer museum assistant since July 2013. My main roles are writing and editing the content on this website, managing the digitisation of the collection and assisting the Curator, Rebecca Lodge, with upcoming exhibitions. I started volunteering at Burgh House in order to gain more museum experience ahead of the MA in Museum Studies I will be starting in September 2014. What I love about volunteering at Burgh House is being able to gain experience in varied aspects of museum work and the responsibility and freedom to suggest ideas the staff affords me.

My name is Louise and I have worked as a volunteer learning assistant since early 2014. My main role is to help the Curator, Rebecca Lodge, plan and deliver school sessions and family activities and events. I started volunteering at Burgh House because I wanted the opportunity to work with young people in an educational capacity. My favourite thing about volunteering at Burgh House is the openness of the staff and the flexibility offered to volunteers, which leads to great opportunities for personal development.