For decades across the Queensland Museum Network, hundreds of volunteers have generously given their time and knowledge to ensure visitors to our museums enjoy an experience to remember.

This year for National Volunteer Week, we celebrate the theme, “Changing Communities. Changing Lives”. We know our volunteers do exactly that, with visitors often speaking of the lasting impression left after an encounter or tour with a ‘volly’.

This year we would like to say thank you, and acknowledge the generous contribution of all volunteers by sharing a few favourite memories from across our campuses.

Marylin Jensen OAM, volunteer at Cobb+Co Museum in Toowoomba.

Cobb+Co Museum

Marilyn Jensen OAM has been volunteering at Cobb+Co Museum for over a year now. After retiring, Marilyn thought it would be an opportunity to promote craft skills that are simple to do, and encourage others to have a go or join a group in their local area.

“My favourite time at Cobb+Co Museum is every time I’m there, as every day brings new questions and people asking them,” she says.

“It’s the pleasure of helping someone else know and learn something new.

“It’s a pleasure to show someone how a natural fibre is processed to a useful garment, and encouraging people to have a go and be happy, and enjoy life and our wonderful community groups and museum.”

Kyle Harmer, volunteer at The Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich.

The Workshops Rail Museum

Kyle Harmer started out at The Workshops Rail Museum as a volunteer two years ago. Graduating to a Visitor Service Officer within a year, Kyle still also volunteers his time as one of the Museum’s expert model builders, working on the museum’s model railway – the largest of its kind, depicting scenes from Queensland’s extensive rail network.

Kylie has many great memories from his time volunteering at the museum, but one that stands out in particular.

“Whilst rejuvenating the model one day a young visitor came up to me and said ‘that’s what I want to do when I grow up!’”.

“That was really cool.”

Mike Saw, volunteer at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville.

Museum of Tropical Queensland

Mike Whiting started volunteering at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in 2001. He said while there have been many changes of staff, displays and volunteers over the years, a very significant change has been the introduction of special and in-depth training given to help volunteers present stories accurately and confidently to visitors of the museum.

“I have so many memories but probably my favourite was confidently giving my first and special talk on the “Three Incredible Small Boat Stories,” he said. 

“What makes being a volunteer worthwhile is just being able to help our visitors understand more about of all the museum’s diverse displays, which cover topics such as maritime history, palaeontology, biodiversity and marine biology!

“It is such a wide range of topics and it’s all important information that is relevant to North Queensland.”

Janice Neill, volunteer at Queensland Museum in Brisbane.

Queensland Museum

Janice Neill has been a volunteer with Queensland Museum since 2012, when the museum celebrated 150 years of connecting and collecting.

“We now have extra space to host larger exhibitions, but staff still have the same dedication to share their enormous wealth of knowledge with volunteers and visitors,” she said. 

Janet has many fond memories from travelling exhibitions and displays, but also appreciates the smaller, simple moments inside the museum’s walls.

“Every day is an exciting day talking to the school groups in the Discovery Centre and recently the Discovery Day for Little Learners.”

If you would like to become a volunteer at any of our campuses, please complete the online Volunteer Expression of Interest form.