Volunteers’ Week 2015 : Meet our Volunteers – Sheona

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I have been volunteering at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum as a Guide since it opened in November 2010.

Being an Ayrshire Lass I was fortunate to be brought up learning about Burns, his life and his poetry. I also took part in many Burns Schools Festivals and still perform at many Burns Suppers in Ayrshire and beyond.

As a Volunteer I carry out many varied duties – my main one is guiding visitors around the museum, the wider site which includes the Cottage, the Auld Kirk, the Brig O’Doon, the gardens, the Monument, the Poet’s Path etc., etc.

My Guiding role involves taking school parties, adult groups, overseas visitors, dressing up in costume as and when required for various events and activities – for example Evening Hallowe’en Tours, Mini Burns Suppers which are held in the Cottage and various Burns events centred around the museum and wider site in January.

My most memorable experience and honour was being asked to record “The Cottar’s Saturday Night” for one of the exhibits in the museum.

I carry out many varied duties but first and foremost I try to give all our visitors a memorable experience. This involves passing on knowledge about Burns – his life, family, poem, letters etc. I also inform visitors about the products and services provided e.g. brochures (for all National Trust for Scotland properties), guide books for the Museum and wider site, the resteraunt shop, Garden Shop, Education Tours, etc.

Providing information, advice and assistance to visitors is invaluable.

I always try to present a friendly and positive image to visitor to ensure that they are receiving excellent Customer Service and feel genuinely welcome. At the outset I want them to know they will be well looked after and receive the necessary information and an enjoyable and informative visit.

Asking children if they are learning about Burns or other Scottish poets at school is so special, particularly hearing them recite what they have learnt – after a little encouragement!

I inform/direct visitors to other NTS properties – remembering to mention membership of the NTS. This is so worthwhile especially for visitors who are just beginning their holiday and hope to visit other places of interest.

If visitors leave having learnt something they did not know before this is so satisfying and I feel I have done a good job. Also if visitors leave wanting to return that is a bonus.

It is so enjoyable meeting people from other parts of the world and passing on knowledge,

I have many favourite things about RBBM – the contents of the Museum, the Cottage, the Brig O’Doon, the beautifully kept gardens.

I am so fortunate to be working in such a warm friendly environment with such excellent, helpful colleges and staff.

Sheona

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