The Broken Hill Historical Society has developed and thrived through the interest, generosity, resilience and commitment of its extraordinary volunteers for 55 years.
Passion, it’s said, is probably the most infectious attribute in any organisation. And clearly, many Broken Hill people have brought their passion for preserving local history of all kinds and over many years to the Society.
The success of the Society’s volunteers is evidenced through the managing and preserving of four heritage sites by the Society and the steady development of those sites into museums to be reckoned with anywhere in Australia
Who makes a volunteer?
The short answer is ‘anyone who wants to be one’!
Another response is, ‘anyone who is ready to become a little involved with the activities of the community they live in’.
And another is ‘anyone who has time, whether it’s a small or large amount’.
What volunteering offers a community organisation is pretty easy to see.
But how might it benefit you, the potential volunteer?
Here’s how one organisation describes it:
… volunteering can connect you to others, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose; can be good for you because it can allow you to contribute your experience, wisdom and skills to your community; and can bring fun and fulfillment to your life.
What kinds of skills does the Society need?
The Society needs a bunch of skills, and below are just a few, in order to undertake, at the moment some core management committee positions:
- the practical management of each museum, to support the Society’s mission and focus on ongoing maintenance and restoration, so — management skills
- the people management of each museum, both in terms of the opening up of each museum to the public in order to guide and inform visitors, and in looking after other volunteers, so — experience, but especially comfort, with dealing with ‘front of house service’ and with people generally
- acting as Society President — so, overall leading of the Society in management of its strategic directions, managing risks etc.
- acting as Vice-president — so, carrying out the President’s duties in the absence of the President
- acting as Society Secretary — so being methodical, with a good eye for detail, well- organised, prompt in managing correspondence, and so on; usually in the Society the Secretary has taken on the Public Officer responsibilities
- acting as Minutes Secretary — so if possible, experience in minute-taking
- acting as Society Treasurer — so, essentially, accounting skills
- acting as Society Publicity Officer — so general interest in and comfort with maintaining connections with local media, organising guest speakers, writing press releases about the speaker and/or any Society events, and so on
- editing the Society Journal, once a year, so generally writing, structural and copy editing, proofing and, if possible, some direct experience in publishing and page design
- acting as Society Research Officer — so interest in historical topics and projects and, if possible, some experience in researching historical issues
- acting as Society Web Content officer — so some experience of developing and maintaining and updating web content if possible.
We haven’t even touched on the myriad of activities any volunteer can pursue, from a bit of admin support, to cataloguing artefacts, to guiding in museums and maintaining museum grounds.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the Historical Society, there are a number of ways to explore this, keeping in mind that we are very interested in knowing what you are interested in.
Visit a museum and spend time finding out what they do. Come to a general meeting, meet people there and ask lots of questions. Contact any member of the current Management Committee, and ask questions.
And/or, you can let us know what you are interested in by downloading the volunteer application form below (PDF), filling it in and sending it to the Society Secretary or bringing it to a General Meeting.