Volunteer Colin Ogdan ‘a man of many talents’ writes about his experience of volunteering at Glenside Hospital Museum.
I heard the Museum was looking for someone to help with woodwork for their displays and so with my engineering background and experience in education I turned up. I look at project suggestions from the team and bring it to a conclusion that benefits everyone. Apart from helping put up displays in high places I have enjoyed sorting through, identifying, labelling and making secure the huge collection of surgical tools from strangely shaped scissors to brain knives!
So during our temporary isolation closure, we have all been planning future improvements for Glenside Hospital Museum, as with all our proposed changes they are always subject to various discussions within the museum group of volunteers. When restrictions permit we plan to implement these changes with the aim of improving the visitor’s experience and putting on more events.
One example which I am involved in as part of our #NationalHeritageLotteryFund project to add to our story of Beaufort War Hospital. This was when the asylum and church were taken over by the War Office in 1915 to treat wounded soldiers who were coming into Bristol in such numbers that Bristol hospitals could not cope. There is an echo of this need for more hospital care now with #Covid19.
We have a very high ceiling in the church, so tried an experiment to suspend it from the pulpit wall to the high level balcony to provide an overhead display the consensus was NO. So we regrouped and decided to hang the net vertically from the wall behind the pulpit. This will enable us to display a soldiers helmet, replica soldiers khaki socks (they have been knitted especially for us), photographs, replica soldiers letters, parcels all covered in mud.
I find the professionalism that every volunteer brings to the museum from their particular field makes the whole experience totally satisfying.