Conservation volunteers

Our volunteers are extremely important to us; they make a tremendous contribution to the work of the department and enable us to complete specific projects which would otherwise be impossible for us.

A Special Collections volunteer applying leather dressing to a leather-bound bookA NADFAS Heritage Volunteer applying a leather dressing to a leather-bound book.

A significant contribution to Special Collections is made by National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) Heritage Volunteers, who give some time each week to help with cleaning, documenting and assisting with cataloguing rare books and archives.

Volunteers are systematically working through the Special Collections printed book collection. They inspect and document the condition of books before carrying out cleaning and basic conservation repairs to the volumes. All the volunteers are trained in identifying different binding materials and types of damage as well as how to do simple repairs using current conservation methods.

Special Collections volunteer working on a photograph collectionA NADFAS Heritage Volunteer working on a photograph collection in the conservation studio.

Other recent projects involving volunteers include boxing the Mingana manuscript collection, storing photographs from the Neville Chamberlain Collection in archival standard folders and boxes, and listing and cleaning drawings and photographs from the collection of the 19th Century artist Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema.

Volunteers from NADFAS also work with our archivists on our archival and manuscript collections and enable us to complete projects which would otherwise be impossible.

We only take volunteers through the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies Heritage Volunteers progamme, please visit their website for information.

There are opportunities for University of Birmingham students to undertake Heritage Internships in the Cadbury Research Library over the summer vacation. These are paid internships and are advertised each Spring through Careers Network.

For more information on careers in conservation please visit the Institute of Conservation webpages for detailed information on the different routes into conservation careers.