Stephanie Ruelland, Ulster Museum

Some of our volunteers have told us about their experiences with National Museums NI. Find out what they've learnt and what they enjoy most about volunteering with us.

Stephanie-Ruelland-UM-Volunteer-175x250Tell us about yourself in no more than 50 words.

I am a mum of one, in my late 40s, a part-time teacher in Northern Ireland (KS3-5), as well as a part-time student with the Open University, with which I am preparing a degree in Art History. I also have a great interest in Art and some aspects of History, drawings/paintings/printing/photography, reading and gardening.

What volunteering are you involved in with National Museums NI?

I assist the textile art curator of the Ulster Museum, Charlotte McReynolds.

How did you hear about the role and why did you apply?

Facebook announcement.

I only switched to part-time employment this year, after 23 years of full-time teaching. Activities linked to Art History have been my post-teaching goals for the last few years and the Ulster Museum’s offers of volunteering posts seemed an opportunity not to be missed to get a further insight in curating work.

Have you learnt anything new about National Museums NI that you didn’t know before?

Yes, so much! Apart from being a regular visitor to the museum, and an occasional visitor to its workshops and lectures, I did not know much about the museum itself, its back-stage activities.

I think I have a better understanding of the history of the Ulster Museum, and especially its textile collection. I have also certainly learned a lot about the maintenance of a collection.

Have you learnt anything new about yourself through volunteering with us?

Yes. I need a change of career! It has most definitely comforted me in my post-teaching plan. I actually wish museum opportunities had been presented as career options when I was in school…

Tell us the best 3 things about volunteering with National Museums NI?

  1. My volunteer role offers me a fantastic breath of fresh air, a really welcome break in my teaching weekly routine (these are moments I really look forward to!)
  2. Meeting a very pleasant and approachable team (curators, conservation specialists, etc…)
  3. I have learned so much! Charlotte is a passionate and dedicated curator, with fantastic didactic skills. I appreciate her patience and love our discussions.