British Museum

Volunteering Work

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The Great Court of the British Museum.

When not researching  or leading  walks, I can often be found at the British Museum (BM) where I’ve been volunteering as an object handler and tour guide since 2010. A veritable stepping stone, this life-changing opportunity has not only allowed me to engage with international visitors on a regular basis, but it has also helped me to discover my public-speaking skills and develop them further.

While the British Museum needs no introduction, I will use this page to tell you more about the volunteering work I do as well as use it as a listings page for my upcoming tours at the museum. I hope to see you there soon!


Japan EyeOpener Tour

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‘The Samurais were governing over a country largely at peace …’ (Credit: Milla Onass.)

Japan EyeOpener Tour, 11am, Room 92

  • Sunday 8th of January.
  • Tuesday 10th of January.
  • Friday 20th of January.
  • Sunday 22nd of January.
  • Tuesday 24th of January.
  • Sunday 5th of February.

A couple of months after joining the British Museum, I was offered to do the Japan EyeOpener Tour (30mins), and as I’m fond of saying to visitors, I’ve never looked back since. Tapping into my interest for Japanese culture, this tour not only marks my guiding debut, but it has also been instrumental in the creation of my Holland Park Tour which focuses on the Kyoto Garden, a traditional Japanese garden found in the heart of London.

From the arrival of Buddhism in the country to the craftsmanship of the Living National Treasures, the Japan Tour provides the public with a concise introduction to the Japanese collection. Taking place on a daily basis, this guided visit is free and requires no ticket. If you would like to join one of the tours I will be leading, please consult the schedule above.

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‘Dawn’ by Tokuda Yasokichi III displayed next to ‘Rising Dragon’ by Tokuda Yasokichi IV.

For a little taster of the Japan EyeOpener Tour, let the following features and quotations entice you to come visit the British Museum some time soon. (Click on the titles of the features to be taken to the whole article.)

‘I spent a fascinating morning in the Japanese Galleries at the British Museum today on a tour led by Yannick Pucci, one of the team of volunteer guides who take you round the galleries and help you understand what you’re seeing. The tour only lasts half an hour so we just looked at a small selection of the exhibits but I found it all highly illuminating.’ – @franpickering

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‘The British Museum runs a whole bunch of free tours and talks run by volunteers, but I had no idea until my Twitter friend, Yannick, asked me to join the Japan tour that he was running. […] Having already learnt so much from the tour, I was delighted to learn more when we stopped by a pair of rather curious looking elephants.’ – @Ali_Haikugirl

2016-10-31-12-51-45In September 2014, I was very proud to deliver my 200th Japan Tour – a significant milestone, especially for someone who had never done any guiding before volunteering at the British Museum. Below you can see me pose with a bunch of very enthusiastic visitors. I’ve now delivered over 300 introductions to the Japanese collection but who is counting?

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The audience and I striking a pose after my 200th Japan Tour. (Credit: Unknown visitor.)


Highlights Tour

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‘The David Vases are not only celebrated for their extraordinary beauty …’ (Credit: Milla Onass).

Highlights Tours, times vary, Information Desk

    • Sunday 29th of January, 11.30am.
    • Sunday 26th of February, 11.30am.
    • Friday 24th of March, 11.30am.
    • Sunday 23rd of April, 11.30am.
    • Sunday 21st of May, 11.30am.
    • Sunday 18th of June, 11.30am.
    • Sunday 16th of July, 11.30am.
    • Sunday 13th of August, 11.30am.

In April 2013 the British Museum also started running the Highlights Tour (90mins) which I have been delivering, publicly as well as privately, to members of the public and staff too. From the Rosetta Stone to the Parthenon Sculptures, this introductory tour takes visitors on an epic journey around the globe while highlighting fifteen key objects from the museum’s collection

Usually taking place Friday to Sunday, the Highlights Tour costs £12 per person and it is advisable to book tickets in advance (via the British Museum’s website) as the tour is limited to 20 people and often sells out. If you would like to join one of the tours I will be leading, please consult the schedule above. (The Highlights Tour can also be arranged for private groups too.)

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Head of a horse of Selene from the Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, 438-432 BC.

For a little taster of the Highlights Tour, let the following features and quotations entice you to come visit the British Museum some time soon. (Click on the titles of the features to be taken to the whole article.)

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‘We were met by a friendly Guide who explained he is also a volunteer at the British Museum so we may well see him there on other days too. […] Our Guide had an immense knowledge of the museum’s collection and I only wish we had more opportunities to ask questions but there was a lot to see. […] Our Guide stayed at the end to answer as many questions as he could which shows how interested the group were in what he had to say.’ – @aboutlondon

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‘[W]hen my lovely guiding friend (and guest blogger) Yannick told me that he volunteers on the Highlights tour, I knew I had to go. […] It really is a wonderful 90-minutes introduction to some of the incredible artefacts held in the museum, and some of the lesser known galleries.’ – @londonkiwiemma

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‘The whole team enjoyed it, and our guide Yannick Pucci really brought the whole tour to life. He was an expert guide, knowledgeable, incredibly enthusiastic, funny and engaging and just made the tour a great adventure around the world!’ – Anonymous Organiser

In October 2016, I was very proud to deliver my 100th Highlights Tour – a significant milestone, especially for someone who had never done any guiding before volunteering at the British Museum. Below you can see me pose with a bunch of very enthusiastic visitors.

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The audience and I striking a pose after my 100th Highlights Tour. (Credit: Unknown visitor.)


 Feedback

Last year an anonymous visitor left behind a very touching feedback comment. I’m still blushing to this day and wish to thank them for their kindness. (While all my friends deny having ever written this comment, I can (re)assure you my handwriting is not that neat!)

britishmuseumfeedbackFind below also sample collages of the feedback my BM tours have gathered on Twitter.

britishmuseumreviewbmcollThe Museum also recently highlighted the work volunteers do as part of #GivingTuesday.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 08.38.26In 2011, my team-building efforts have been highly commended in the London Volunteers in Museums Awards (LVMA), in the category ‘Going the Extra Mile‘. A delightful surprise, this nomination was a humbling moment as it turned out my volunteer colleagues had suggested I should be put forward for this accolade. The following two quotes have been taken from the LVMA booklet handed out during the award ceremony.

‘[Yannick] is a naturally enthusiastic and charismatic character who has never failed to gain the praise and friendship of everyone he works with – visitors, volunteers and staff alike.’ – London Volunteers in Museum Awards 2011

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Visitor hosts and volunteers sharing a moment in the Enlightenment Gallery.

For the past four years, I have also regularly been organising cultural trips for my volunteer colleagues and friends. Growing in strength and popularity, these bi-monthly visits have included a rare opening of 19 Princelet Street, a delicious Chinese tea tasting at Chaya Teahouse as well as a spectacular ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Royal Opera House.

‘… Yannick also goes out of his way to create social and cultural opportunities for his volunteer team mates. From organising trips to other museums, to simply calling in at other hands on desks to say hello, Yannick has added a new social aspect to the volunteer team.’ – London Volunteers in Museum Awards 2011

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A group of volunteers on a ‘behind the scenes’ visit to the BBC Broadcasting House.


Disclaimer

As a museum volunteer, I do not speak on behalf of the British Museum and all the views expressed on this website are strictly my own. The aforementioned tours are run at the discretion of the museum and as such they might be subject to last minute changes.


2 thoughts on “British Museum

  1. I’d like to say once more how enjoyable, memorable and informative the Highlights Tour was, (even for seasoned Londoners like my husband who admitted how much he learnt from you!). We’ve been telling all our friends about it and hope to do the tour again soon with you…

    Like

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