TAS Heritage Volunteers are teams of committed volunteers who work under the guidance of curators and other professionals to help conserve our heritage.

TAS Heritage Volunteers undertake projects for

  • Museums
  • National Trust properties
  • Historic houses
  • Libraries and gardens

They give their time to care for collections, record documents and act as guides and stewards.

Current projects include

  • On-site conservation of books, manuscripts and maps
  • Cataloguing documents and archival listing
  • Conservation of arms and armour, medals and military silver
  • Preventative conservation of textiles, replic work and the creation of period costumes
  • Guiding and stewarding in museums, historic houses and gardens


2016 Greater London TAS

 Volunteering Opportunities 

Benjamin Franklin House 36 Craven Street WC2N 5NF

Front of House Volunteers required at this Grade 1 historic house – from running the Box Office to leading tours of the house for visitors. One day per week. Roles especially suited to those with strong interest in the public side of museums/heritage work.

Contact: Stephen Wilson tel. 020 7839 2013 

Bishopsgate Institute and Library, Bishopsgate, City of London, EC2M 4QH

There are 2 groups working on Newspaper archives, sorting, repairing newspaper cuttings, mounting on cards and repairing pamphlets. They meet on the first Tuesday and Thursday of each month from 10.30am to 3.30pm with an hour for lunch (1.00 – 2.00pm)  Vacancies are expected shortly. 

Contact: Jenny Call tel. 020 7392 9200 

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1 4 RL

Conway Hall’s library houses the Ethical Society’s collection of Humanist research material.  The work involves noting the condition of books, their cleaning and conservation. Book Conservation Training is needed.  There is a vacancy for an experienced book conservationist.

Contact: to be supplied 

Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2IX

The main need is for room stewards/guides to look after visitors to Dickens London home. General stewarding plus some conservation roles will be needed in the future.

Contact: Daisy Falconer - 020 7405 2127  or

Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ

This museum tells the story of Britain’s first home for abandoned children. There are some vacancies for volunteers interested in either gallery stewarding or reception work.  The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am to 5.00pm and on a Sunday from 11.00am to 5.00pm but volunteer hours are flexible ie to suit you. There are current vacancies.

Contact: Vincent Rice tel.  020 7841 3611

Handel House Museum, 25 Brook Street, London W1K 4HB

Handel House is a small and beautiful museum in central London, largely staffed by a team of dedicated volunteers of all ages.  All volunteers help with gallery attendant duty and there are opportunities to become involved in a range of activities, including reception duty, shop assistant, assisting with events and weekly concerts, tour guiding and delivering Saturday Talks. The rota is flexible (one shift per week minimum), shifts are either 10.00am – 1.30pm or 1.30pm – 6.00pm (Tuesday to Saturday) or 12.00noon – 4.00pm or 2.00pm – 6.oopm (Sunday). 

Contact: Anna Cusack  tel.  020 7399 1954 

Household Cavalry Museum, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX

This museum is located in a historic building adjoining the stables of the horse guards.  Volunteers wanted mainly for room stewardship.  Flexible arrangements for the rota.

Contact: Doreen Hewitt  tel. 020 7930 3070 

Lancelot Capability Brown – work at home

2016 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot Capability Brown ( usually just called  Capability Brown). There will be a Capability Brown Festival and we have been asked to provide researchers.  The job involves searching on-line for old maps of CB sites – they are all over the country.  Training will be given but this is a job which can be done at home with a computer in your own time but please keep a note of the hours that you do!

Contact: Judith Al-Seffar (NADFAS Parks and Gardens) on

Linley Sambourne House, 18 Stafford Terrace W8

This house was the home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, his family and their servants.  This late Victorian family home is preserved almost entirely intact, giving a memorable insight into the lives of the Sambournes and the world in which they lived.  Volunteer Room guides are needed from 1.45 to 5.30 on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Room guides must keep an eye on all the contents of the room so as to ensure nothing is damaged or taken by any visitor, and can be seated in the room.  Guides may also swop rooms with other guides during the afternoon if they so wish.  Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided and travel expenses up to £6 per day can be claimed on receipt of a ticket.  Contact Tracey Lazarus by email on  or on tel.020 7471 9158

The National Archives, Kew, Richmond Surrey TW9 4DU

The National archives accept volunteers for specified jobs.  If you register as a volunteer your name will be kept on their mailing list, and you will receive all details of vacancies.

Contact: Collection Care Dept. consenquiries@national

Old Royal Naval College, 2 Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich London SE10 9LW

The ORNC comprises Discover Greenwich (a small museum), Chapel and Painted Hall. They need volunteers to assist their Visitor Experience Team in providing a warm welcome and an informative visit.  Volunteers will carry out research, run object handling lessons, and assist the Learning and Interpreting team in delivering learning programmes for adults and young learners. They will also provide behind the scenes office support and work on projects with the Marketing and Events Team. ORNC provides training for volunteers.  Hours are flexible, but volunteers must commit to 3.5 hours per week or 1 day a fortnight for a period of 3 months – this is on a rolling basis.

Contact Ann Burton tel. 020 8269 4794 or email

Royal Institute of British Architecture, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

British Architectural Library - The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection

Volunteers are required, ideally with architectural background or knowledge  (but those with an interest in architecture and/or photography will be welcome) to sort, organise, list and catalogue photographic material once a  week, preferably on a Monday or Thursday. The most important requirements in the volunteers are accuracy and attention to detail.

The swipe card you will use to gain access to the library will also give you discounts in the RIBA cafe and bookshop, and access to the staff canteen.

Contact Valeria Carullo   tel. 020 7307 3710    or  email

Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD

This club was founded as a forum for those interested in languages, cultures and the history of Asia.   Four volunteers needed to do archive work

Contact – to be supplied

Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE

The Royal Society of Medicine is one of the major suppliers of postgraduate education. One experienced volunteer needed for book conservation

Contact – to be supplied

Sir John Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP

This compact and fascinating museum which was left to the nation by Sir John Soane. (1753 – 1837) requires room guides and stewards to work alongside experienced members of the museum staff assisting them with visitors. The rooms are filled with furniture, paintings, fragile models under glass domes, ceramics and other works of art, as a guide, you will help to bring the rooms alive for the visitors.  Training will be given. The museum is open all year round from Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am to 5.00pm.Schedule is very flexible, but please note the visitor route is narrow and there are stairs.

Please contact Dr. Michele Mowatt by email 

Travellers' Club, 106 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5EP                            

Founded in 1819 as a meeting place for gentlemen who had tavelled abroad, their foreign visitors and diplomats posted to London. Three expeienced volunteers for book conservation needed.

Contact - to be supplied

University College London. UCL Library Services Gower Street WC1E 6BT

Four more volunteers are required to assist book preservation in the library and the archives. Monday to Friday, mornings and/or afternoons.

Contact: Fred Bearman on 

Westminster City Library Archives Centre 10 St. Ann’s Street, SW1P 2DE

Volunteers required to join other NADFAS volunteers caring for books and paper repair. Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Flexible.

Contact: Georgia Vassou  020 7641 5162      email


Projects on hold at the moment:- 

Emery Walker Museum, 7, Hammersmith Terrace

This house is currently closed for re-furbishment and will re-open in 2017.  The collection is in store in Stockwell and we very occasionally receive requests for volunteers to check the collection in store. A fascinating terraced house overlooking the Thames, which was the home of Emery Walker, printer, collector and mentor to William Morris. 

We also have volunteers at the places below but there are no current vacancies.  If you are interested in any of them, please let us know so that we can put your name onto a waiting list and you will be contacted when an opening occurs. Thank you. 

  • British Dental Association
  • Central St. Martin’s School of Art
  • Chelsea Physic Garden
  • Fulham Palace
  • Goldsmiths Hall
  • Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution
  • House of Lords
  • Kings Royal Rifle Corps
  • Kingston University                        
  • Lambeth Palace
  • London Metropolitan Archives      
  • Museum of London
  • National Trust – Chartwell            
  • National Trust – Ham House
  • National Trust – The Homewood  
  • National Trust – Polesden Lacy
  • National Trust – Standen               
  • Parliamentary Archives
  • Quaker House                                 
  • Reform Club
  • Royal Academy of Art                   
  • Royal Society of Antiquaries
  • St. Brides                                         
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Scots Guards Museum                    
  • Society of Antiquaries
  • Southside House, Wimbledon                  
  • Tate Britain        
  • Victoria and Albert Museum         
  • Wakehurst, Kew
  • Wallace Collection – Out of the Frame Project 
  • Westminster Abbey Museum         
  • Westminster Archives 
  • Two Temple Place


Conservation of Books, Papers and Pictures

Throughout the land, in universities, schools and other public institutions, massive archives of historic books, pictures and papers are held, all of great historic interest, either to the body responsible for housing them or to the Nation. To ensure that the items are maintained in perfect condition, the environment in which they are held is temperature and humidity controlled. Thus, these archives are held away from the public gaze, in basements, attics or other tucked away locations. But, in these environments work armies of folk, either conserving or preserving the documents for future generations.

Conserving or preserving - what’s the difference? Well, conserving can perhaps be best described as keeping the document in good condition for future use, whereas preserving is simply keeping the document safe and not to allow it to pass into history.

University College, London, has a vast archive of books, papers and pictures donated by benefactors over the years, all housed in its ‘Special Collections’ department. The documents may have been collected by one individual, interested in just one subject, for example, the Euclid collection or the works of a prolific author or scientist, The Galton Collection. Some documents date back to the 1400 / 1500’s, so are very valuable.

In the past, the documents may not have been housed in the best of conditions or may have been well used and in any case, time has taken its toll on them. But all are now in need of proper housing and some tender, loving care to ensure that they remain in good condition for future generations to use and to enjoy.

The work of the many paper conservators, some paid by the body responsible but many volunteers, many from NADFAS, goes on unnoticed in rooms adjacent to these archives. Just recently, the Head of Special Collections at UCL decided, with the College authorities, that the wraps and mystique of conservation work should be thrown off. To do this, a special ‘Pop – Up’ conservation room was established in a college refectory, where conservationists would work and demonstrate their skills. I was honoured to be asked to join in this work.

My job – to make the initial examination of the documents to be conserved, to check their condition, noting any damage to the bindings, then to the text block by damp, mildew, grease or worm. This done, I would proceed to clean first the spine and cover boards, then the edges and then the pages, individually and very carefully, using either a sponge soaked in an inert cleaning chemical or a light hair brush, or both, working from the centre of the page, outwards. Pictures are cleaned using only a soft brush. Minor defects, such as turned in corners or folds in pages would be rectified and the paper ironed. Dependent upon condition, in some books only the front and back twenty or so pages would be cleaned, other books had to be cleaned page by page.  All this done, I passed the document to more skilled conservators for their attention.

Whilst doing all this, I was fielding questions from University staff, Deans downwards and from students about the work, the skills and knowledge needed. Great interest was expressed in how I came by this work. Most were impressed that I was a volunteer and when I told them that I was a NADFAS volunteer, many wanted to know about our organisation, its aims and objectives. Maybe I was responsible for an excess of ‘hits’ on the NADFAS website recently.

The London Mathematical Society, one of the Country’s leading learnèd societies for Mathematics  was founded in January 1865 and its earliest meetings were held in University College.  The Society still has strong connections with UCL for the archive containing all its records is housed here. Next year, the Society will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. To commemorate this event, an exhibition of the Society’s records will be mounted. Just now, conservators are working to clean and to prepare the documents chosen for display.