Whitby Museum, including the Library and Archive, welcomes volunteers who wish to help with our many activities. There are jobs and tasks that require specialist expertise and skills. However, we do not necessarily expect voluntary workers to have prior experience in or knowledge of particular areas. Support and training can be given and people are encouraged to try something new.

Curators of the different collections need assistance from time to time with cleaning objects or cases, cataloguing and labeling, and changing the displays. The Library and Archive welcomes volunteers who can help with, for example, cataloguing, the archiving of materials and assisting members of the public and academics with research, particularly concerning family and social history of the Whitby area. Another key role is to assist on the reception desk to make sure our visitors, of all ages, have a great experience. There are also opportunities for those with specific skills such as joinery, artistic design and setting up exhibitions as well as duties relating to the running of the organisation – finance, marketing, administration and applying for grants, for example.

The main attributes we look for in our volunteers are enthusiasm and a willingness to help out. You can give as much or as little time as you wish. Some people like to come in for a set time on a set day, others operate more flexibly; it depends on the role. You can experience different areas of the museum; you are not confined to sticking to one area if you fancy a change.

We are a friendly team. Everyone is a volunteer, with the exception of our manager, registrar and four museum assistants, who all work part-time.

We ask volunteers to join our parent organisation, the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society. It is a rather erudite sounding name – but it was established in 1823 when ‘philosophical’ meant natural philosophy – that is science. The Society has approximately 500 members from a very wide variety of backgrounds, only a few of whom would claim to be either literary or philosophical! Membership also means free entry to the museum, permission to borrow books from the Library, free admission to our regular talks and discounts on our special events. See ‘About’ on the top menu for further details of the Society.

The advantages of volunteering are:

  • the opportunity to meet and socialise with people with similar interests
  • an opportunity to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge
  • the satisfaction of helping to preserve and develop an outstanding and unique museum
  • a good addition to your CV if you are a student or temporarily out of work
  • a change of scene and good fun!

Whatever your background or interests we would love to hear from you. Do contact us for an informal chat and see if you would like to get involved. In the first instance, please email the manager: and she will arrange a visit to the museum. You will have the opportunity to chat to other volunteers to find out all about us without any obligation. You can find our volunteer leaflet here.