Seven Stories’ Volunteer wins ‘Contribution to Collections Care Award’ at the North East Museum Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Ann Bayliss, a Seven Stories volunteer, has scooped 1st place in the ‘Contribution to Collection Care’  category at this year’s North East Volunteer of the Year with Paula Wride, Collections Officer, being Highly Commended in the category of ‘Contribution to Supporting Volunteers’.

Ann has worked with the Seven Stories Collection Team for ten years, supporting the Archivist and Conservator with all manner of collections care and documentation.  She has worked on many of the collections of books, artwork and manuscripts we have acquired during the last ten years, patiently, listing, cleaning, numbering and repackaging.  As a former art teacher and printmaker Ann has used her skills to help identify materials and techniques.

Ann recently numbered and repackaged over 1500 pieces of preliminary and finished artwork from Helen Craig, the illustrator of the Angelina Ballerina series of picture books.  Along the way, she made notes of anything that struck her as being particularly interesting – for example, annotations by the illustrator – the notes were used when preparing the associated exhibition, which opened at Seven Stories in July 2014 and has been proving extremely popular with visitors.

Paula has been commended for her dedication to supporting volunteers, going the extra mile to provide them with a high-quality experience – planning varied work programmes; providing induction training and ongoing support; ensuring that each volunteer feels valued and included, and has opportunities to develop according to their own individual strengths and interests. As a result, volunteers tend to stay with the organisation for a long time, as much as ten years in some cases, and students often offer to come back as volunteers at the end of their courses.

Sarah Lawrance, Seven Stories Collections Director said, “I am nominating Paula for an award because this aspect of her work is not always sufficiently recognised in the context of a busy, fast moving, developing organisation.”

The North East Volunteer awards are managed by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums as part of their role as one of the Arts Council's Major Partner Museums, and seek to recognise the substantial contribution of volunteers to the wide range of museums across the North East. This year, as in previous years, volunteers have made a huge contribution to the many events and activities going on in our museums, galleries and heritage sites, and much of the work we do would not be possible without their dedication and enthusiasm.

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Image Caption: (from left) Ann Bayliss with Paula Wride.