British Motor Museum Volunteers
Tuesday 6 December 2022
Wednesday 17 August 2022
‘Life in cars’ is an inter-generational project which will help the Museum create connections with local communities and for them to engage with each other. This involves telling life stories with cars, through art.
The Museum chose to connect with two communities, one a group of young people with autism, learning disabilities and people with other differences. They all enjoy art and creativity. The second group are the ‘Elders’ a mix of two communities, one from an African-Caribbean Dominoes group and the other, an isolation and loneliness group in an inner city. All the Elders have a story or two to tell us about life and cars!
|African-Caribbean Dominoes group crafting|
A team of our Volunteers have been working alongside the Museum's Life Long Learning team to collect and record stories from the Elders, for the young people to create artwork from in various mediums such as storyboarding, hand printing and ceramics.
|Admiring the lino cut artworks|
The finale will be an exhibition of this journey and work, to the general public which will open in late August 2022. The Exhibition will be a body of work encompassing the story of stories that have been embraced by the young people as artists.
Wednesday 20 July 2022
I’m Sonja Dosanjh and my role as Volunteer Co-ordinator involves overseeing all aspects of volunteering for the British Motor Museum. I work three days a week. I work with my colleagues across the Museum to identify Volunteer projects and to help turn them in to reality, writing role profiles (job descriptions), leading to advertising opportunities and following through with the selection and induction process.
|Sonja Dosanjh on the right|
There are risk assessments, procedures and policies to keep track of and application forms to absorb and act on. I record Volunteer hours and prepare an expenses spreadsheet each month.
National Volunteers Week occurs in early June each year, giving us the opportunity to publicly thank our team. This year some short videos were made of Volunteers talking about and showing the projects they are involved with. You can watch these on our YouTube channel.
|2014 Volunteers visit to the London Transport Museum Store|
Each year I organise a Volunteers’ ‘annual outing’ to see how other places do it. We’ve had a bit of a gap with Covid but it’s returning this year, with a trip to the SS Great Britain in Bristol. Previous trips have included visits to Brooklands, London Transport Museum Stores in Acton and Birmingham Museum Stores.
|2019 Visit to Brooklands|
|2013 Volunteers with restored MGA chassis|
Tuesday 24 May 2022
When the Collections Centre was opened in 2016, a review of all the exhibits in the Museum collection was carried out. This review identified display engines and chassis that would be of interest but needed to be repaired or cleaned. Today, a number of those engines are on display in the Collections Centre and many have been restored by volunteers.
These 12 engines include an Austin-Rover S series single cylinder development unit, revised from the E series used in the Maxi and Allegro and which was probably used for combustion chamber development.
There is an interesting version of the Riley 2.5 litre, which shows its many internal parts. It was fitted to the RM model and later to the Pathfinder. With twin camshafts it was quite advanced for its time. In contrast, many cars up to the 1950s used side valve engines and another of the refurbished engines would have been found in a Triumph Mayflower. Performances have improved a lot since then, with this engine producing only 38bhp from a 1247cc block.
The latest project is an Austin Devon chassis which started life in 1948 when the Longbridge Apprentices were given the task of producing an exhibit promoting the new car. The Devon and the Somerset that followed would be some of the last cars still employing a chassis, as this was the start of the change to monocoque construction. This chassis would travel around Britain extolling the virtues of the new model but also showcasing the engineering capabilities of the apprentices at the Longbridge factory.
In fact one of our volunteers, Cameron, remembers seeing it on display in Edinburgh in his younger days.
The restoration work has been separated into three categories:
1. Brakes, steering, suspension and wheels.
2. Chassis, drive shaft and rear axle.
3. Clutch, engine, gearbox and exhaust.
The general condition considering its age and storage is what you would expect, with no serious rust. The main problem being the chrome of which there is a lot which is now flaking off and none of it is restorable. Cleaning and painting is underway and a challenge is to match the chassis’ original existing metallic finish paint.
BY JOHN RATHBONE, VOLUNTEER
Tuesday 12 April 2022
Our Volunteer Guide project started when the Collections Centre opened in February 2016 and the involvement of the 80 Volunteers has been vital to allowing visitors access to the collection. In fact, we could not open the building without them.
So successful have they been in welcoming visitors, giving tours and interpreting the collection, that it was decided to introduce Volunteers onto the main Museum floor this spring, to enhance the visitor experience.
This has meant our existing team of 80 have had to absorb details of many more vehicles and, for me, has resulted in a recruitment campaign to increase the team by 20-30 people.
The process starts with a Role Profile posted on the website, this generates application forms, leading to an informal chat over coffee with the Curator and myself. An induction follows for those chosen, a handbook given, uniforms and name badges ordered, a “walk and talk” through the collection with Stephen, Head of Collections, and Cat, Curator, and the new team are ready to start.
This month we welcomed 18 new Volunteers, who will be split between the Museum and Collections Centre. So, please say hello when you visit. We hope that whatever personal motivations and goals are, we can help to fulfil aspirations for volunteering through good quality training, excellent support and the opportunity to make a difference by sharing old skills and learning new ones. And, we hope, making new friendships. Giving time and skill to the Museum must be enjoyable for the Volunteer; that in turn gives enjoyment and education to all who visit the Museum while helping to preserve and protect the heritage and legacy of this great place.
Thank you to all the Volunteers who give time to the community and to us at the British Motor Museum.
BY SONJA DOSANJH, VOLUNTEER CO-ORDINATOR