From left to right: Judith, Janice and Victoria.

It's Volunteers' Week, so we thought we'd take the time to highlight and thank our group of volunteers for the wonderful contribution they make - without which the Estorick Collection could not function. You will usually find our friendly volunteers manning the front desk of the museum or invigilating in one of our galleries, but many of them also make a vital contribution to operational activities such as processing membership applications. Their warmth and dedication make our museum what it is and we are very grateful to have them on board.

We spoke to Janice and Judith, who have been volunteering at the Estorick Collection for a combined total of eighteen years, about their experiences of volunteering.

How long have you been volunteering at the Estorick Collection?

Judith: I would say nearly ten years, for one day a week.

Janice: I have been volunteering for eight years and I usually work one day a week in the museum space and one day a week in the office upstairs, if there’s a computer available! I process membership applications and send out reminders to our existing members.

What initially drew you to volunteering at the Estorick Collection?

Judith: Well, I discovered the Estorick Collection by chance really. I was due to hold an event for a group of engineers on traffic signs, but at the last minute the other venue fell through – so I quickly looked around for another location in central London and landed at the Estorick. When I retired, I wanted to work in a gallery, so decided to volunteer here.

Janice: When I moved to London I wanted to meet people and I thought volunteering would be a good way to do that. I also wanted to work in a museum or gallery. I was more interested in working in a place that wasn’t so big and where you could really get to know the people you work with as well as the people who come in, and I heard about it through a volunteering website. I was teaching a retirement course at the time, so that was how I heard about the website. I didn't know much about Italian art, especially Italian art from the early twentieth century!

Judith: No, I didn’t know anything about modern Italian art either.

Have you learnt a lot about modern Italian art since?

Janice: Yes, I have learnt a lot. Some of it is not to my taste, but now when I visit Italy I seek it out. I would recommend the Novecento Museum in Florence, just off Piazza Santa Maria Novella. It's not so well known, so it's quiet, and most of the people who end up there are looking for something else! They had a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition the last time I was there.

Judith: Yes, I've heard about the one in Florence - but there's also a fantastic one in Milan.

Janice: Yes, the one in Milan is great.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the Estorick Collection?

Janice: The people. I particularly enjoy engaging with young people, the only other way I talk to young people is through my children.

Judith: I really like the conviviality of it, I get a lot out of that. It's very friendly here, and unlike a big gallery space or large museum, we have a lot of time to give to our visitors. It is nice to talk to a range of people, but I always enjoy speaking with some of our slightly older visitors who have lots of great recommendations for other shows or venues they’ve been to recently.

Janice: Yes, I agree, we have a lot of time for our visitors because we are small. But we're both usually here during the week when it's a bit quieter, I imagine it's quite a different experience on busy weekends!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Estorick Collection, please email with your name, why you're interested in volunteering and in what capacity you'd like to volunteer. We are always looking for people to help out in the shop, welcome visitors at the front desk, invigilate in one of our galleries or help us with our exciting programme of events.