Since the Friends were formed in 2000, many members have been involved in various aspects of volunteer work organised by the society and Teesside Archives staff.
The British Steel Archive Project recruited over 100 volunteers to assist the project team with the various tasks associated with preserving this valuable archive of Iron and Steel making. Many of the volunteers were skilled, or became skilled in specific tasks which were vital to this project.
Upon completion of the project many of the volunteers wanted to continue their work supporting the Teesside Archives important preservation work.
What sort of things do volunteers undertake?
One of the main tasks is the digitisation and transcription of old documents. This allows the contents of registers (such as parish records, shipping registers etc.) and other historic documents to be made available to the public without risk of damage to the originals. This is important as some of these records are now very fragile.
Images and documents are photographed so that, once they are in digital format, they can be viewed by visitors in the Teesside Archives Search Room.
To make searching quicker and easier, indexes are prepared. This involves copying information into a database which can then be searched using key words.
Some volunteers help the Conservator with collection care tasks, such as packing documents into acid-free containers. This can be tedious and sometimes dirty, but is essential for long-term preservation.
Other volunteers help by listing large collections of similar documents, such as maps, plans, photographs and property deeds. Deeds are vitally important for family historians as they often list people and property and give additional information about family members. Items are listed using electronic databases which can then be imported into the catalogue by the archivist.
Volunteers must be trained in the tasks they undertake to ensure that archival records are handled safely and the content is preserved accurately. Once a volunteer has completed introductory training they will be allocated a task and further skills training will be arranged, if necessary.
Volunteers working within the Teesside Archives premises do so under the direction of Teesside Archives staff. Due to the demands on Teesside Archives staff time and the accommodation available within the Teesside Archives premises opportunities for volunteers is limited.
To volunteer to undertake work within the Teesside Archives premises please contact Teesside Archives on 01642 248321
To volunteer to undertake work on behalf of The Friends Of Teesside Archives, please contact our chairperson: firstname.lastname@example.org
To support applications for grants or for project funding and to illustrate the value of the work done by volunteers, each volunteer will be required to complete a timesheet showing the time spent on allocated tasks.
Volunteers may be eligible to reclaim expenses incurred on behalf of the Friends. The Friend expenses policy can be downloaded here.