Volunteer Highlight: Ruth

This is a first of a series of Volunteer Highlights- showcasing the behind-the-scenes work our volunteers do here at the Museum. Find out more about Collections volunteering from Ruth!

Hello, my name is Ruth Tillyard; I am one of the new Collections Volunteers team recruited by the amazing Beau to help clean and rationalise the entire displays.

At our first briefing meeting, I happened to mention that my Great Uncle had donated an item on display – the Tillyard Chair. So when I came in for my first session, I was “invited” to be the lucky person to clean this gothic style chair with embroidered back and cushion! The cleaning is done with small soft brushes and a special museum hoover. Beau was kind enough to have looked out the relevant accessions book which greatly added to the interest of my task.

At my second session, I chose an item to clean, a mystery object looking like a wooden footstool with a tapestry top which hinged open to reveal a ceramic container which sloped down to a hole in the middle. We thought it must be for some kind of liquid, but Beau said she had drawn a blank asking her professional friends what it might be. I offered to ask my Facebook hive mind so took home a photograph of it and put up a post. Result immediately:  It’s a Victorian parlour spittoon! Lucky me to have handled that! 

So you see, routine jobs can be far from boring……life’s always a learning process even if sometimes rather unexpected or yucky!

Volunteer Highlight: Ruth