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Volunteers at the Dorset History Centre

Volunteering at the Dorset History Centre is a rewarding way to learn about our work and meet new people.

Volunteering is an important part of our access strategy. Volunteers help us to raise awareness of our work and improve access to our collections.  We aim to offer a range of roles across the Centre that need different levels of skills and experience.

Volunteering at Dorset History Centre might be for you if you have a passion for history; want to improve your knowledge and skills; or want to get involved in something worthwhile.

How do I volunteer?

Volunteers are recruited to specific projects. Volunteer positions will be advertised below as they become available. We do not accept speculative applications.

Volunteer opportunities are also advertised in our newsletter and via the  Volunteer Centre Dorset (opens in a new window).

What roles might be available? 

Typical volunteering opportunities include:

  • packaging documents for storage
  • indexing and transcribing records
  • research
  • collecting oral histories
  • supporting people with additional needs to access our volunteering opportunities
  • promoting our services and events

We are committed to treating all volunteers and volunteer applicants equally and fairly. We accept volunteers based on their suitability for the role. For more information please see our Volunteer Policy (pdf, 332kb) (opens in a new window)

Current volunteer opportunities

Support Volunteer

We are currently seeking a volunteer to support visitors and researchers who have additional needs on an 'as needed' basis. If you have good communication and basic research skills, and time to give we would like to hear from you. Please see the full role description for further details.

Volunteer application form

If you would like to get involved with any of these roles please complete our volunteer application (pdf, 330kb) (opens in a new window), specifying which role you are interested in, and return it to Dorset History Centre.

Dorset Archives Trust

Dorset Archives Trust (DAT) is an independent charitable body who support the work of Dorset History Centre. DAT welcomes new volunteers to help organise events, distribute information and raise awareness of the work of the Trust. For more information contact DAT at 

Young learners and work experience

We enjoy introducing young people to the work of the archive and we benefit from having tasks undertaken by short-term placements. We will introduce you to all aspects of our service and provide a varied experience. We hope that after spending time with us you will act as an informed advocate for archives. 

Current opportunities

Student Placements

  • suitable for undergraduate level or above
  • up to three placements for up to four weeks each summer.
  • this opportunity is popular, to apply please contact our Community Engagement Officer

Supported Placements

  • suitable for young people referred by partner agencies who need extra support to access volunteering opportunities
  • up to three placements per year
  • we will work with each person individually to tailor a short project suited to their abilities and interests
  • for more information or to make a referral contact our Archive Service Officer (Community Engagement)

Please note we cannot currently offer work experience opportunities to sixth form students.

Volunteer testimonials

Volunteers have interviewed a wide range of people with connection to the Bankes estates and I transcribe them to make it easier for researchers to find information. The interviews offer a wonderful insight into social history during the last century. I do this role at home.

Sheila, Transcriber

I love opening an old document and realising the last person to have read it might have lived hundreds of years ago. I also love the challenge of deciphering handwriting of many years ago and imagining the lives of the people who wrote these documents. You get a real flavour of the times in which they lived.

Angela, Palaeography

I volunteer out of an interest in history, I really enjoy opening a new box of unsorted documents, with no idea what may be contained in it!

Antony, Cataloguing


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