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There are plenty of ways you can get more involved at the museum and one of the most rewarding is to volunteer. Whether it’s working with our collection, out on the estate or with our visitors, there are volunteer roles to suit everyone. If you can give a few hours a week, a few days a year or anything in between, you’ll make a massive difference to the museum.

We have over 100 active volunteers and are always on the look-out for passionate and loyal people to join us.

You could:

  • work in a public facing role that help us engage our visitors, e.g. as a ‘meeter and greeter’ in our exhibition rooms
  • work on our collection and buildings, for example as a collections researcher or helping us to document our collection
  • demonstrate traditional skills and crafts or take part in historic reenactments
  • help us to maintain our 75 acre estate, environment and beautiful gardens
  • work with our learning team to engage, excite and inspire our young visitors
  • help us to run our events programme, e.g. stewarding at an event or serving behind the bar at our Beer and Brewing Festival

Volunteering can provide many benefits and rewards:

  • the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience and skills through a variety of museum roles and improve your CV
  • taking up a new hobby, meeting people and making new friends
  • learning about history or heritage skills and crafts
  • the pleasure and health benefits of working outside in the Suffolk countryside
  • the opportunity to contribute to your community and the satisfaction of helping others and ‘giving something back’

For more details on how to become a volunteer and what it entails please contact us on volunteering@foodmuseum.org.uk or telephone 01449 612229.



Collections Digitisation Volunteer

Search for the Stars Collections Digitisation Volunteer

What do we want to achieve?

With the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund and the Headley Trust, we are digitising our collections catalogue. Our innovative Search for the Stars project creates a free, public, online catalogue of all our objects. The project is providing an invaluable community resource and improve our collections management.

What is a Collections Digitisation Volunteer?

We have records with varying degrees of information and accuracy. Your role will involve checking and updating these; ensuring the record complies with GDPR regulations, is clear and readable, whilst allocating the most relevant tags to the object to help the public search and find records. You are also encouraged to identify any objects that you think are of relevance or interest as ‘star objects’ and these will go onto be researched further.

What kind of person are we looking for?

We’re looking for someone with an interest in social history, has basic IT skills, works accurately, and thinks outside of the box. This could suit a student or someone looking to pursue a career in history or heritage, alternatively, it would suit anyone looking for a meaningful and flexible volunteer opportunity that provides transferable skills and fits around other commitments.

What will be involved?

  • You will gain practical collections management experience on a live project at an Arts Council England accredited museum
  • You will receive training on our cloud based, collections management system, eHive
  • You will check online entries against record cards ensuring all information is transferred over correctly and clearly
  • You will improve the searchability of our collection records by specifying key words and using eHive’s tagging function
  • You will also be encouraged to identify ‘star objects’ from among the records you encounter, using your own knowledge, interests and imagination
Where This opportunity can be done remotely from anywhere in the world – you just need an internet connection and access to a computer!
Time Commitment Any time that suits you
Responsible to Name: Catherine Tournay
Position: Collections Care Assistant
Email: volunteering@foodmuseum.org.uk
Application process We will arrange a short phone call to discuss the project and find out about your experience and motivations for volunteering.

We will ask you to register your details using an online survey and read some paperwork.

Training Information sheets and practice and feedback on system, all done remotely
Other As a regular volunteer you will get free entry to the museum and all unticketed events


If you are interested

Please contact Catherine Tournay on volunteering@foodmuseum.org.uk or 01449 612229

Collections Champion


The Food Museum is one of over 70 recipients of funding in the latest round of grants awarded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England. Amongst other vital improvements, this grant will allow us to repair the roof on our Large Object Store. For this work to go ahead it’s necessary to relocate all of the objects currently held in our Large Object Store to temporary storage locations around our site. With hundreds of objects to move, we are looking for reliable, detail-oriented individuals to play an important role in this project. As a Collections Champion, you’ll help photograph, catalogue, and move our large objects. You will have the unique opportunity to see behind the scenes of the Food Museum and get hands-on with our objects.


What’s involved?

  • Photographing objects using a digital camera and lighting equipment.
  • Working as an integral part of a small team to move objects from our Large Object Store to temporary storage locations. This may involve the use of lifting equipment. You will be fully trained and supervised at all times.
  • Cleaning and carefully packing objects for storage.
  • Measuring and inputting basic information about our objects on our web-based cataloguing system.
  • Optional: editing photos using Lightroom.


What’s in it for you?

  • Participate in shaping the future of our museum.
  • Gain a variety of transferable and museum-specific skills, including how to handle, document and photograph museum objects.
  • Meet new people and become part of an enthusiastic and friendly team.
  • Make an active difference in the accessibility, care and organisation of our museum collection.
  • Participate in a project that is described as a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ for the Food Museum.
  • Through engaging with the objects in our collection you will develop your understanding of the history of food and farming in East Anglia and beyond.


The role will suit…

  • Students or someone looking to pursue a career in history or heritage.
  • Adaptable, organised and curious individuals.
  • People who are open to learning new skills and happy to engage in tasks which require patience and accuracy.
  • Team-players.
  • Individuals who are comfortable being on their feet most of the day.


Where Food Museum
Crowe Street,
IP14 1DL
Time Commitment We are open to volunteers any day of the week, including weekends. You have the option to come in for the whole day (10am – 4pm), the morning (10am – 12:30pm) or the afternoon (1:30pm to 4pm). There is no minimum time commitment – you can opt in to sessions that work for you.
Responsible to Name: Catherine Tournay

Position: Collection Care Assistant

Email: catherine@foodmuseum.org.uk

Training Museum induction, support sheets, run through processes, heavy lifting training and shadowing sessions to learn more about role.
Other We are unable to cover travel expenses but refreshments are available. As a regular volunteer you will be issued with a membership card, which gives you free entry to the museum and all unticketed events.

The onboarding process for new volunteers begins with an initial phone call during which we can discuss the details of the role, what you are looking to get from volunteering with us and it gives you the chance to ask any questions.

Food Learning Assistant


The voluntary role is to help deliver our learning programme at the museum. Being part of the Learning Team is a varied role. Depending on your preferences, you will gain experience using the wood-fired oven, assist with a diverse range of public workshops and assist with our schools learning programme.

The aim of the Food Learning at the museum is also to encourage people to nurture their curiosity regarding food production, preparation, and consumption.


What’s in it for you?

  • Tool and equipment training depending on your need
  • Learn how to use our wood-fired bread oven
  • Gain knowledge and understanding from the learning team
  • Enjoying new experiences and learning something new every day
  • Improving your communication skills
  • Becoming part of a friendly and dedicated team
  • Meeting people from all walks of life and making new friends
  • Contributing to real improvements to the museum visitor experience


What’s involved?

  • You will be part of the learning team and help with food tastings and demonstrations, including local and heritage food, cooking workshops, and schools workshops.
  • Be helpful and courteous to all visitors as the public face of the Food Museum.
  • Becoming familiar with and then always following the Food Museum’s Health and Safety Policy, and to be familiar with and comply with all other relevant Museum policies and procedures, and to attend training as and when required.
  • Answer questions providing information where possible. Refer tough questions or complaints to the appropriate member of staff.
  • There will also be opportunities to get involved with other aspects of the museum e.g. the museum’s events programme.


This role will suit… 

Someone with an enthusiasm for food production (crops and veg), cooking, and the stories that can be told through food. We are looking for someone who likes being outdoors and getting their hands dirty. This is a public facing role so you will need to have an outgoing, friendly and patient demeanour. Experience working with the public, young people and/or children would be preferred. You do not need any experience – just to be keen to learn and to get stuck in alongside others!


Extra information

 Your place – Food Museum

Time Commitment – This role is flexible and will be dependent on the workshops and school visits programmed in. Our busiest times are school holidays and weekday mornings. This can be flexible according to your commitments.

Staff Contact – Catherine Tournay volunteering@foodmuseum.org.uk 01449 612229.

Training/Resource As part of your induction you will be introduced to the site and your work area of you to help equip you for your role. You will also find out more about the Food Museum and what is expected of you. Further training will be given as required.

Walled Garden Volunteer


With the support of our volunteers we would like to develop and maintain our kitchen walled garden. We would like to supply the museum café with fresh produce from the garden and the polytunnels.

What kind of person are we looking for?

We’re looking for someone with an interest in gardening, with a can-do attitude, initiative and a desire to get involved.  This could suit a student or someone looking to pursue a career in gardening or heritage, alternatively, it would suit anyone looking for a meaningful and flexible volunteer opportunity that provides transferable skills and fits around other commitments.

Skills to be gained

  • Becoming part of a friendly and dedicated team
  • Improve your communication skills, working with your team and our museum visitors
  • It partly depends on the person – there will be opportunities to get involved with a range of museum activities beyond the garden


Where Food Museum – walled garden and polytunnels
Time Commitment Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10am-4pm
Responsible to Name: Michael Stamper
Position: Growing Officer
Email: michael@foodmuseum.org.uk
Training Training will be provided
Other As a regular volunteer you will get free entry to the museum and all unticketed events



Estate Volunteer


Estate care

Enhance the visitor experience by ensuring the museum’s estate is well kept and attractive, and that particular concern is shown toward the following:

  • Engage with the museum visitors, answering their questions
  • Support the HLS Officer in the delivery of the museum’s Higher Level Stewardship status, including researching and developing specialist skills in managing water meadows using traditional methods of livestock management, including developing knowledge of rare breeds of sheep and cattle and their management
  • Grass is mown, strimmed and tidy
  • Bridges and paths are safe, well maintained, clear from debris and dangerous overhanging branches
  • Buildings and their surrounding areas are clean, tidy and well maintained
  • Signs/directional signage are maintained and up to date
  • The site is kept litter free
  • Fencing is stock proof and free from vegetation
  • Seats are safe and well maintained
  • Drains and gutters are clear from debris at all times
  • Ponds and rivers are well maintained and the water levels managed in accordance with statutory regulations and seasonal rainfall
  • Assist with event set up and takedown, including marquees, moving tables and chairs, clearing rubbish

Livestock Care

Ensure the highest welfare and care standards are applied to all captive animals within the museum grounds. Whilst enhancing the visitor experience.

  • Engage with the museum visitors, answering their questions
  • Assist with the animal talks and tours
  • Pest control is carried out in an efficient and humane manner
  • Stock levels for animals’ feedstuffs are managed


What kind of person are we looking for?

We’re looking for someone with an interest in nature, animals, who likes working alone and/or working in a team. This could suit a student or someone looking to pursue a career in agriculture or animal care, alternatively, it would suit anyone looking for a meaningful and flexible volunteer opportunity that provides transferable skills and fits around other commitments.


Where Food Museum
Time Commitment Monday-Sunday; am and/or pm
Responsible to Name: Paul Palmer
Position: Estate Manager
Email: paul@foodmuseum.org.uk
Training All training will be provided
Other As a regular volunteer you will get free entry to the museum and all unticketed events

Miller in Alton Watermill


The Food Museum is looking to recruit a team of Millers to help bring its newly restored 18th-century watermill to life.

You will provide a friendly welcome to visitors of all ages, inspiring curiosity and answering questions as you demonstrate the historic machinery and produce wholemeal flour.

The Miller is an active role that requires a can-do approach, good observational and listening skills, a commitment to the requirements of both health and safety, and food safety, along with practical know-how or willingness to learn about this traditional craft. Training will be provided.


What’s involved?

  • Helping visitors to experience and understand the inner workings of a watermill, and to recognise the role of milling in the process of bread making.
  • Working as part of a team to operate the electric milling stones.
  • Following food safety and operational procedures to produce good quality 100% wholemeal flour for human consumption whilst ensuring the safety of volunteers and visitors.
  • Assisting in the running of the waterwheel, hoist and other machinery.
  • Answering questions about the mill, its history, restoration and operation.
  • Being aware of the quirks of working with old machinery and preventing unnecessary damage to the building or its contents as well as keeping the building clean.
  • Assisting in the packaging of flour for sale in line with food requirements.
  • Completing necessary training as required.


What we’re looking for:

  • You will enjoy speaking with and engaging people of a range of ages and backgrounds.
  • You will have a passion for learning new skills and information, which you will enjoy sharing with others.
  • You could be looking for a challenge and relish the opportunity to be part of a new team or might be looking to gain experience in the fields of heritage and conservation.
  • Our demo’s and guided tours currently take place on Fridays, however we are keen to expand capacity and run more demonstrations and tours throughout the week in the future.


What will you gain from volunteering at the Food Museum:

  • You will become an experienced and knowledgeable miller.
  • Make new friends and become part of an enthusiastic and friendly team.
  • Develop your communication and people skills within a fun, supportive environment.
  • Make an active difference by supporting the Food Museum’s mission and providing a fun, engaging yet challenging experience for visitors.


Contact information

Name: Catherine Tournay

Email: volunteering@foodmuseum.org.uk

Tel Number: 01449 612229

Working days/hours

Day of the week: Friday 10am-4pm for training initially, then Saturdays or further days to be determined


Visitor Services Volunteer


With the support of the volunteers we aim to enhance our visitors experience. Our visitor services team will greet the visitors with a warm, friendly welcome, give the visitors information about the site and events and help the visitors have an excellent day at the Food Museum.

What kind of person are we looking for?

We’re looking for someone with an interest in social history, with good communication skills, confident, outgoing and like helping others. This could suit a student or someone looking to pursue a career in history or heritage, alternatively, it would suit anyone looking for a meaningful and flexible volunteer opportunity that provides transferable skills and fits around other commitments.


Where Food Museum
Time Commitment Summer daylight saving hours 10am-1pm or 1-5pm

Winter daylight saving hours 10am-1pm or 1-4pm

Responsible to Name: Darren Dordoy
Position: Visitor Services Officer
Email: darren@foodmuseum.org.uk
Training All training will be given in-house
Other As a regular volunteer you will get free entry to the museum and all unticketed events



What age do you have to be to volunteer? Am I too old?

You have to be at least 14 years old to volunteer. Other than that, age is no barrier. We all have something to offer no matter what our age.

How much time do I need to volunteer for?

How much time do you have to give? You can spend as much or as little time as you wish volunteering.

How do I sign up?

In the first instance you should contact the museum, on 01449 612229 or email volunteering@foodmuseum.org.uk. We will send you a list of all our available roles and put you in contact with the member of staff most suited to your area of interest who will arrange for you to visit and have an informal chat about the role you may be interested in. If you join us you will attend an induction which will cover things such as health and safety, signing in procedures and who your supervisor will be, as well as practical things like where all the facilities are and introducing you to other staff and volunteers.

Roles which require more responsibility, such as being a trustee, will involve a more formal interview.

Can I be paid to cover my expenses?

Unfortunately we are unable to reimburse travelling and other expenses

Can I claim benefits while volunteering?

Yes. Volunteering does not affect your benefits, although you may have to let the Job Centre know.

I’m working full time, can I still volunteer?

Yes. There are activities that are suitable outside of normal working hours such as at the weekend or when you are on annual leave, or that you can do from home in the evenings.

Do I need any skills or qualifications?

Most volunteer roles don’t require special skills or qualifications and you will be given any training you need. Some roles require certain skills but this will be stated clearly in the role description.

Can I get a qualification?

Occasionally we can help volunteers obtain qualifications such as an NVQ. If this is your goal, please mention this when you contact us and we will do our best to support you. Even if you can’t get a qualification, volunteering can help you gain valuable experience, skills and a referee for future employment.

What support will I get?

We will make sure that you have what you need to perform your role, you are insured, and you know who to go to if you have a question or a problem.