Charleston farmhouse image

Charleston: Home of the Bloomsbury Group – gallery, garden and learning volunteering opportunities available for application

Charleston is open to the public on Wednesday – Sunday from April until October each year with some special ‘winter’ tours available between November and March. The house and garden are presented to look as they would have done in the 1950s, when Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Clive Bell lived at Charleston. Visitors are encouraged to feel that they are guests in a living home, and this is why objects are not roped off, and there are no labels or pieces of text anywhere in the rooms. This approach to display continues into the garden, where visitors are able to explore the various spaces at their own pleasure. The role of the Volunteer Garden Assistant is to help preserve the spirit of the Charleston Garden and to present it to the 22,000 visitors that come to Charleston every year.

Gallery and Stewarding Volunteer

Gallery invigilation:

  • To ensure visitors have valid tickets upon entry to the gallery
  • To be situated in the Gallery, never leaving a position unattended without cover
  • To provide a key point where the public can access information about the exhibition, providing factually correct information, and more broadly providing information about Charleston, its collection and exhibition programme
  • To ensure object security, making sure objects are not touched, damaged or stolen
  • To ensure visitors adhere to our code of conduct that no pens, pencils with rubbers, rubbers or recording equipment, including cameras, are used within the gallery spaces
  • To report any concerns or incidents relating to the Gallery and the visitor experience to the Visitor Experience Team, and call for immediate assistance in the event of any challenging situation
  • To support the Visitor Service Assistants at the Welcome Desk as required.

House hall stewarding:

  • To check admission tickets for those entering the House, providing a warm welcome
  • To assist in the safe flow of visitors around the House by providing directions
  • To ensure those with additional needs are supported (eg, to provide ‘shooting sticks’, childrens’ trails, translated tours, large print tours, etc.)
  • To ensure object security, making sure objects are not touched, damaged or stolen, and to never leaving the front door open unattended
  • To support the Guides in ensuring that visitors adhere to our code of conduct
  • To report any concerns or incidents relating to the House and the visitor experience to the Visitor Experience.

Time comittment: A minimum of 10 shifts per exhibition, ideally a regular weekly commitment. 2 x AM and 2 x PM shifts shifts available per day, Wednesday – Sunday & BH Monday. Times usually 10:00 – 13:30pm and 13:30 – 17:00pm.

Garden Volunteer

Working under the direction of Charleston’s Head Gardener, the volunteer assistant may be asked to assist with any of the following tasks:

  • Replanting and dividing herbaceous perennials
  • Weeding and mulching
  • Pond maintenance work
  • Maintaining gravel paths and terraces
  • Staking, tying-in and cutting back herbaceous perennials
  • Pruning of shrubs and roses
  • Winter pruning fruit trees
  • Propagation of annuals.

Time commitment: We expect Volunteer Garden Assistants to commit either 3 hours (10am – 1pm) or 5 hours (10am – 4pm, with 1 hour break for lunch) per session, for a minimum of 20 dates throughout the year. Days and hours are at the discretion of the Head Gardener.

Learning Volunteer

• To encourage the participation of school children, young people and families in a range of planned workshops and activities in order to enhance their understanding of Charleston and Bloomsbury
• To assist the Learning Officer and PPL (Public Programmes & Learning) team with the delivery of practical hands on workshops and activities including the set up and clearing down of the activity space before and after the session
• To support visitors in their broader knowledge of Charleston and awareness of our activities.

Time commitment: We expect volunteers to commit to a minimum of four designated days across the year – more would be wonderful!

How to initiate an application

Please contact the university’s volunteering service, Active Student:

01273 644145
Visit: Your nearest Student Centre