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Museums and collections


Why do we need a volunteer?

The Administrative records in the Cambridge Svalbard Exploration Collection need to be repackaged into conservation grade files and boxes. The records include correspondence with suppliers and funders, invoices and receipts, licenses and budgets, and brochures and advertisements.

The Svalbard Archive comprises over 700 boxes, and includes field notebooks, catalogues, maps, reports, photographs, slides and negatives. Since 2013 the collection has been gradually repackaged by staff and volunteers, but some records are still in their original enclosures.

This role will ensure that the Museum continues to provide collections care in line with appropriate standards.

There is further information about the collection on the Archives Hub.

Volunteer tasks:

  • Transfer material (to be identified by the Archivist) from 50 original boxes into new conservation grade files and boxes. NB: this may occasionally include the repackaging of vulnerable records -photographs, negatives or slides.
  • Basic listing of the records will also be undertaken if time allows.

What you (the volunteer) will gain from this role:

  • Experience of undertaking basic Archive preservation techniques
  • Experience of working with a Professional Archivist. 
  • Experience of listing records in accordance with International Archive Standards.

Skills required:

  • Good handling skills.   
  • Accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Ability to lift and move archive boxes        

Potential time involvement:  1 day a week (approx. 5 hours) for 4 months (in the first instance).

Location:  Conservation Unit, Madingley Rise, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0EZ.

Responsible to:  Sandra Freshney, Archivist

Training and Support

The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences will aim to provide sufficient information and training for you to perform your volunteer role.

Full training and written guidance will be given by staff about how to repackage material safely and effectively. Staff will be available to answer questions at any time.

Health and safety responsibilities

You will be responsible for your own health and safety by reporting all potential and actual health and safety matters including accidents using the correct procedures.

Legal check requirements for this role

We have a legal responsibility to ensure that you have the right to volunteer in the UK before you can start volunteering for us. If you do not have the right to volunteer in the UK already we will not be able to progress your interest any further.

To Apply

Please return a completed Expression of Interest Form to either the Museum Administrator at the Sedgwick Museum or the University of Cambridge Museums Opening Doors Project Co-ordinator.
Deadline for applications: 12 noon on 3 April 2017 or

Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ or

Opening Doors Coordinator, University of Cambridge Museums, c/o The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB

Main tel:

+44 (0) 1223 333456 (Sedgwick Museum) or

+44 (0) 1223 332907 (Opening Doors Project Co-ordinator)

About the University of Cambridge Museums

University of Cambridge Museums is a consortium of the eight University Museums, which works in partnership with the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and other Cambridge University collections.  They include: Fitzwilliam Museum, Kettle's Yard, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Museum of Zoology, Museum of Classical Archaeology, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and The Polar Museum.

The University's collections are a world-class resource for researchers, students and members of the public representing the country’s highest concentration of internationally important collections, all within walking distance of the City Centre.

About the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

The Museum is responsible for around 2.5 million fossil, rock and mineral specimens from around the world, encompassing more than 4 billion years of Earth's history. The Museum plays an active part in the research and teaching activities of the University of Cambridge Department of Earth Sciences. Our activities include enhancing our public displays to offer more information and improved interpretation of our collections and providing free learning resources and activities for visitors.