Experiences of a Crawley Museum volunteer

It began with a talk to the U3A by the then curator of Crawley Museum, Helen Poole, and the late Gillian Pitt. They were giving us an up-date on the move from Goffs Park House to the new premises in “The Tree”. After the talk a clipboard was passed round by Gillian, with the suggestion that we sign up to be kept informed of further information. Of course, I did. As my late husband used to say “You don’t have to sign up for everything, you know”. True, but that never stopped me, with much eye-rolling from him, followed by “What have you signed up for this time?”

I can’t remember how long it was between that talk, our first invitation to look round the building just before it was opened, and my first session volunteering on the front desk. What I can say is that I love it. Learning about the history of the town I have lived in for over 50 years, sharing stories with the visitors and other volunteers, it’s just priceless. Some people have lived here all their lives, others are newcomers, and some just visiting for a day or a few hours, but all have so much to offer. As I have experience in education I sometimes help with school visits, and always feel I learn as much from the children as they do from me.

When my husband was ill I had to give up volunteering for a time, and then the Covid lock-down closed the museum, but I am really looking forward to the day when I can get back behind the counter and welcome the first visitors through the door.

Jean Austin

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