Volunteering with the Archive Service

Volunteer making archive boxes at Barrow

Our four Archive Centres, as well as our Conservation Unit in Carlisle, can offer rewarding volunteer opportunities. These tasks vary according to the specific requirements of each location. Volunteer placements are also dependent on the availability of staff time for training and supervision and the ability and commitment of each potential volunteer. We try to accommodate requests for placements but please note that these cannot always be guaranteed. Our Volunteer Role Profiles (PDF 133KB) shows the different types of activities volunteers can undertake with us. Our Volunteer Charter and Declaration (PDF 163KB) and our Volunteer Policy (PDF 110KB) describe in more details the mutual responsibilities of Cumbria Archive Service and volunteers in undertaking these activities.

Across the Archive Service volunteers play a crucial role helping with document repackaging and preservation, sorting and listing of archives, and creating valuable name indexes to make key sources more easily accessible.   For volunteers keen to work with Conservation, activities can involve cleaning and preservation of books and manuscripts; cleaning, digitising and  packaging of photographic images; making customised boxes and preservation packaging; and cleaning and preservation of maps and plans.

Over recent years, volunteers have been helping us re-package the Furness parish registers at Barrow Archives by producing made-to-measure boxes and have re-packaged and listed over 5000 fascinating photographs in the Barrow Local Studies collection. In Carlisle, recent volunteering projects have included indexing hospital records (creating a searchable database); Cumberland Militia ballot lists and the Jim Templeton photographic collection.

Our volunteers have created valuable name indexes to shipping records and World War One newspaper entries at Whitehaven. At Kendal, volunteers have helped list and repackage hundreds of photographs in the Joseph Hardman collection, helpfully identifying many photographs of previously unidentified scenes.

This work would not be possible without the assistance of volunteers. Please contact Cumbria Archive Service for more information on the opportunities available. You can also find out more about the Keele University Poor Law voucher project at Carlisle Archive Centre and the request for volunteers to help with the listing and repackaging of Barrow solicitors' records at Barrow Archives and Local Studies Centre.