…and change is Nature’s delight.
Thanks to Marcus Aurelius for putting it so succinctly.
Why so reflective? Well, today was my last official day as a staff member at the Horniman Museum (voluntary or otherwise – my duties have been varied!)
I first started at the museum back in June 2009, totalling my time there at a year and three months. I started out as a frightened volunteer, answering questions and guiding people around the museum. I learnt a lot about bees, and defended the fox in the Nature Base from over-enthusiastic children.
The Horniman’s distinctive clocktower
I quickly made myself known to various staff members – mainly the Learning teams and the Visitor Assistants. I soon found my duties expanding, as I volunteered my services around to different departments. I was at a Cafe Scientifique balloon debate, a family Play Day, I received Disabilities & Diversity training…
The Natural History Gallery, with the famous walrus
My eagerness to help “behind the scenes” got me a short stint (2-3 weeks) helping to kick start the audit of the Hands On Base, and the Learning team made further use of my organisational skills by letting me help with school bookings administration.
Frederick Horniman’s beautiful conservatory
After chumming-up with a fellow volunteer (who was involved with the marketing team), I was paid to help steward the museum’s annual “Fusion Fest”, a cultural event in the Horniman’s 16 acre gardens. After this, I got to know everyone in the marketing team better, leading to my temporary and ad hoc paid employment doing market research (they have asked me back on more than one occasion to help with projects). Last week, they even asked me to help out at a high profile fund-raising event, which was wonderful.
Just to prove that I was there…
But, nothing is forever. I should really be excited, as my reasons for leaving are concerned with personal growth: I start my Psychology MSc next week (I may have mentioned this before, as I am starting to stress out, rather…) and that will take up the lion’s share of my time. But in addition to my studies, I am an enthusiastic volunteer at SANE (a London based mental health charity, who do wonderful work) and a committed member of the English Arts Chorale (who make my life difficult by being based in Reigate, Surrey). And obviously, there are the day to day runnings of things, and the one-off events that come up from time to time (like playing the double bass – it’s been a while!). I’m also considering taking up another volunteer position to further my CV, possibly at The Stroke Association or the Royal Hospital For Neurodisability.
And did I mention that I (would like to) have a social life?
So, something had to give, and I made the difficult decision of pulling away from the beautiful Horniman. Whilst I have vowed that I will return as a visitor, and I have told various departments that, free time permitting, I would be happy to help out at events, I can no longer commit to regular volunteering.
It has been a really wonderful experience (with its ups and downs, and a lot to be learned!), and I will miss it, a lot.