Sue Carter

I applied after doing some volunteer work in a herbarium whilst on holiday in West Cork in 2017. Previously I didn’t even know what a herbarium was having spent my working life as a health visitor. Anyway, I really fell in love with the beautiful seaweed specimens I was working with in the herbarium in Ireland and when I came home I happened to be in the Whitworth gallery and saw a painting of a flower with an accompanying specimen  which was on loan from Manchester museum. When I looked at the website I was amazed to see that the herbarium wanted volunteers so I applied and started volunteering 1 day a week  – a lovely way to spend my Tuesdays.

I’ve learnt a lot about mounting plant specimens which is a very satisfying job.I’m currently photographing algae specimens and adding them to the data base (I’m not a whizz at computers so I ask for help quite a lot) All the volunteers are supervised by  Lindsey the assistant curator -she gives me a task and I can ask for her help if I’m stuck. There’s a really friendly atmosphere in the herbarium with a number of volunteers working there and I feel generally that the museum as a whole values the work of volunteers.

Volunteering at Manchester Museum

Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do at Manchester Museum and we offer a variety of ways to get involved. It is a rewarding experience where you can share in the work we do, learn about the Museum and vision that motivates us. Volunteers have opportunities to get up close to our collections through object handling, connect our programmes to diverse audiences and support the care and conservation of our collections.

We have around 140 volunteers at the museum, who contribute over 10,000 hours to the museum every year.

If you are curious about being part of the museums volunteer team and would like to find out details of the next recruitment or further information; please get in touch at

  • Visitor Engagement

    Object handling is our most popular volunteer role in our gallery spaces. Collections are brought to life every day to inspire the curiosity of our visitors. We currently have six themed handling tables in our galleries: Living Worlds, Back to Nature, Fossils and hello future. In addition, we have our Live Animals experience and Nature Discovery handling table aimed at younger visitors.

  • Outreach

    The museum offers an extensive programme of events, activities and learning opportunities which enhance our current exhibitions and animate our collections. Volunteers are involved in facilitating a wide range of creative workshops and activities with all age groups. This can range from volunteering to support visiting schools or helping at family or adult events and festivals.

  • Behind the Scenes

    A small number of volunteers are involved behind the scenes working alongside staff. Roles include: labelling, cataloguing and assisting with projects relating to our collections.

Current opportunities

We’re partnered with some of the most prestigious cultural venues in Manchester.

  • Volunteer Befriender

      This role will directly help the widows and widowers who use The Widows Empowerment Trust for support in overcoming their bereavement. This role helps people who risk isolation and Read more…

  • Exhibition Engagement Volunteer

      The Science and Industry Museum is devoted to inspiring our visitors through ideas that change the world, from the Industrial Revolution to today and beyond. Use Hearing Protection: The Read more…

  • Museum Volunteer

    Manchester Jewish Museum are recruiting for volunteers. Do you want to be part of a brand new museum opening? Do you want to help bring people together and share Jewish Read more…

  • Reading Nature’s Library

    Help Manchester Museum discover the treasures in its collection and help us unlock this information and release our collection’s potential. This is an exciting opportunity to volunteer from home with Read more…