British Motor Museum Volunteers

British Motor Museum Volunteers

Friday 26 November 2021

Volunteer History Talks - The Most Beautiful Car in the World.

Graham Robson and Cameron Slater outside the Lord Leycester Hospital with a Series 2 E-type from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Collection.

The Jaguar E-type was sixty years old this year. Obviously, such a significant event in motoring history could not be left unmarked so the E-type became one of the series of History Talks which the Life-long Learning Team has devised. The E-type team of volunteers Roger Gollicker, Andrew Pollard, Graham Robson and Cameron Slater, faced the small problem of a deadline – the talk had to be ready for performance by 15 March – the exact anniversary of the E-type’s launch in 1961. We had about six months to do justice to this fabulous motor car and we made it – but only just. 

Very soon ‘The Most Beautiful Car in the World’ moved from being a working title for the talk to being the actual one. After rather a long Covid-affected gestation period it is difficult to remember whose idea it was to call the talk that. 

In the days when we all sat a long way away from each other, it soon became evident that there was a person at the meetings who knew a great deal about Jaguars and certainly about this one but wasn’t actually one of the presentation team! That man was Tony Merrygold, who is the Vehicle Collections Manager of Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT). His fund of stories showed us almost immediately that with his input, we had a real gem of a presentation. The team could happily research the facts Page 5 The Most Beautiful Car in the World and the history, but Tony’s fund of stories promised glamour, humour and real personal experiences. 

Inevitably, there were many revisions of the script - we are currently on version 16 - but it’s been a very rewarding process. The culmination of all that work was, of course, to present to a public audience. So far, we have done that twice. Once to a group of lovely people who had booked the talk as a birthday present for one of their Jaguarmad friends, via the wonders of Zoom. The second was as part of the Warwick Words Festival when we faced a live audience of about 95 people in the Great Hall of the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick. 

Of course, we were not alone. Emma Rawlinson and Bryony Goodwin from LifeLong Learning were always there to help and Karam Ram at JDHT was a wizard at finding the right image. We all enjoyed being part of this project and we hope our audiences get as much out of it as we did.

Monday 16 August 2021

Plenty of volunteer action now the Museum has reopened

 As our last blog explained, whilst the British Motor Museum (BMM) was closed during lockdown, a small group of volunteers were still busy at home preparing a number of motor related history talks. We’ll return to the talks later, but now with the easing of lockdown on 17th May and the reopening of the Museum, the whole 80 strong volunteer group is busy once again on an increasing number of activities.

Our restart coincided with National Volunteers Week and the Museum celebrated the occasion and our return by inviting all the volunteers to a thank you luncheon. At the event, 23 volunteers received their five-year service awards. Next year, to highlight the success and longevity of the volunteer programme, the original intake of volunteers will receive its 10-year awards.

Volunteers who attended the National Volunteers Week luncheon

At the luncheon, the Museum’s managing director, Jeff Coope, revealed the BMM’s five-year plan. Some exciting plans for the future expansion of the Museum were announced, creating new opportunities for the volunteers in the years to come.

Back to the present, the majority of the volunteers are now returning to what they like doing best - guiding, assisting and informing the many visitors at the Museum. At the time of writing, the Museum is only open Friday to Monday, but full opening will commence during the school holiday and following the ending of lockdown restrictions.

The volunteer programme now covers many other activities, some of which have been covered in past blogs, like restoration, vehicle data collection and oral history recording. 

The Outreach and Presentation team are back in action, having recently hosted a visit by Towns Thorns Care Centre – pictured below. The team is available to either host visits at the Museum, or make visits to health & wellbeing, or community groups bringing museum objects and memorabilia. Further details can be found here.

Another initiative recently started by the Museum is its participation in the STEAM scheme, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Maths. Five volunteers have agreed to help the Museum with their involvement by becoming STEAM ambassadors.

Back to the creation of a series of history talks. Now rehearsed, completed and signed off, we are able to deliver the following talks; The Mini - Wizardry on Wheels, The Most Beautiful Car in the World – the E-type Jaguar, The Evolution of the British Motor Industry and The Car’s the Star. In the planning stage we have; The History of the British Sports Car and Royal Cars.

Around 12 volunteers have been taking part in this rewarding project, which will also see them deliver the talks, either at the Museum, out in the community, or even in the current climate, via Zoom. More details can be found here on the Museum’s website.

All the talks last around 45 minutes and contain a large number of photos, drawings and illustrations from the Museum’s vast archive collection. A 15-minute taster video, given by one of the volunteers, can be viewed here.

Finally, at the end of July, the Museum will have a stand at the annual Silverstone Classic meeting, which as usual will be hosted on all three days by our volunteers. So, why not pop along and say hello?

Before you plan your Museum visit, always check our website for the latest information and any possible restrictions.