Can you support a conservation student volunteer?

CHEIN – a network of higher education institutions working with Icon – is looking for AIM members who can offer conservation students volunteering opportunities. 

CHEIN is piloting a project to match AIM members with students currently undertaking conservation, collection care or preventive conservation training who are looking for related short-term sector projects.

Through targeted volunteering the scheme seeks to build supportive networks for the student and the museum, sharing knowledge and experience related to collection care and management. As emerging professionals, students have the potential to bring current thinking, creative ideas, adaptability, problem solving skills and practical suggestions relating to conservation practices and collection care.

It is anticipated that projects could eventually be carried out in person, when permitted, but the focus would currently be on digital support. Typically a work schedule will be drawn up over six weeks with a few hours of work per week, though this can be amended to suit the project.

Note this is a student volunteering scheme; for a full and professional conservation treatment or intervention AIM members are guided to the Conservation Register

Typical projects could include

  • Reviewing a specialist collection type, discussing packaging storage or display options.
  • A store assessment
  • Very basic conservation cleaning advice
  • Public engagement around collection care and conservation
  • Review of objects
  • Help with a small grant application
  • Support with condition assessments
  • Help with the selection of equipment or other purchases
  • Guidance on finding and using support resources, such as online training
  • Assessing monitoring data and providing related recommendations

Collection types

Basic care advice may be possible on:

  • Collection care or preventive conservation
  • Natural Science
  • Archaeology
  • Textiles Social History and working collections
  • Sporting history
  • Science and medical collections
  • Contemporary art
  • Indigenous collections or those described as ‘ethnographic’

Currently the network cannot give support for fine art, photographs and paper conservation issues.

How to get involved 
Those interested in the pilot project should complete this scoping proforma>> by 8 March.

The University network will undertake pairing / nominate students by Mon 22nd March contacting relevant museums shortly afterwards, to schedule an initial online meeting.

For initial queries contact Margaret Harrison, AIM Programme Manager

The museum host will be expected to provide the necessary indemnity or employer insurances for working with student volunteers. Students will not be liable for advice offered, and responsibility for decisions made as a result of the receipt of advice will lie with the museum.

Download Scoping proforma>>

About CHEIN>>