Friday, 10 July 2015

Grahamstown Gazette: the Community Volunteering edition

Every month I write a local heritage-themed column, on behalf of The Treasury, for the Grahamstown Gazette. Here's my piece for the July edition.

From The Treasury:

How many volunteers does it take to run an archive? The Treasury is run entirely on volunteer power, and at last count there were about sixty different tasks our volunteers carry out every week to keep the archive moving. While many volunteers live locally, our archive and Reading Room collections cover the original Hauraki gold field area – from the top of the Coromandel right down to Waihi and Te Aroha, and across the Plains – and our volunteers are from all across these regions too. We even have a few international volunteers; our website and database are maintained by volunteers in America.

Our volunteers are researchers and receptionists, indexers, oral history interviewers, trustees, webmasters, scone bakers and much more. The Indexing Group meets one morning a week to find references to places, people and events within the thousands of books in the Reading Room. These references are later collated to form our database, meaning you can search for your last name on our website and find a list of books mentioning your family. The Indexers find fascinating facts, hot gossip and little-known stories between the pages of our collection. They’re definitely the people you want on your pub quiz team!

We also have a lively group of volunteers in our Oral History group. These are the people who head out into the community with microphones and tape recorders at the ready, in search of stories and local characters that make up Thames’ history. Sometimes our interviewees share their life stories or family anecdotes; other interviews have focused on local businesses, special events and school memories. If you’re an ex Thames South School student, you’ll see us at the school reunion in November. The full set of interviews the team has recorded are available on CDs in the Reading Room.

If you’re interested in volunteering at The Treasury, pop in for a chat with us and pick up a volunteer form from reception.

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