Young Devon Museum Volunteers

Our project to involve volunteers aged between 16 and 18 with Devon museums

South West Museum Development Programme

The Young Devon Museum Volunteers project supported three museums in Devon to involve young people aged between 16 and 18 as museum volunteers.

Project aims:

  • To provide young people with the opportunity to experience and explore the types of roles in museums
  • For the museums to facilitate volunteering opportunities for young people with the long term view to diversify their volunteer base

Participant museums were:

  • South Devon Railway Museum
  • Teign Heritage Centre
  • The Museum of Dartmoor Life

About the project

Over 50 existing volunteers in the participant museums received safeguarding awareness training and the museums were supported by our Sustainable Volunteering Officer to develop welcome packs, role descriptions and recruitment materials for their volunteering opportunities.

Following a recruitment drive in local colleges Teign Heritage Centre and The Museum of Dartmoor Life involved 16 volunteers between 16 and 18 years from four schools and colleges.

At the beginning of the recruitment the young people received training from our Thematic Officers. The topics covered object handling and preventative collections care; social media in museums and understanding and welcoming audiences.

The young people had the opportunity to undertake roles such as researcher, photographer, event planner, tour leader, audience researcher or social media content creator and activities including developing and running a museum takeover event. As a direct result of the project Teignbridge District Council awarded a small grant to Teign Heritage Centre to facilitate their activities.

Project outcomes

Through this project the young people improved their local history knowledge and developed an awareness of what it takes to run a small business. They developed skills in research, photography, communicating effectively and working as part of a team. Following this experience the young people reported a growth in confidence, stating that they are now more likely to participate more in college and in the wider community.

The participating museums reported increased confidence and competence in safeguarding and increased safeguarding awareness across the volunteer team. The project also gave them access to young people’s perspectives, skills and aptitudes not currently held within their workforce and diversified age profile of the volunteer team.


A set of supporting resources have been developed by our Sustainable Volunteer Officer, Eleanor Moore. Any museum seeking to create volunteering roles for young people can use these to plan the recruitment and support in structured way and can and meet the legal responsibilities.

You can also hear from the volunteers and their experiences in our Project videos: