Kempton relies on an army of dedicated volunteers to keep the museum going for the benefit of the public. As well as maintaining and running the Great Triple, there are always routine jobs to be done, as well as exciting new projects to tackle. And it’s not all about nut-strangling and heaving huge lumps of metal, either. We need all types of skills and talents to keep things working.
Before every steaming weekend, the place needs cleaning and polishing, the refreshments need to be either bought or made, signage needs to be positioned or, in some cases, renewed. There are health and safety checks to be made, gates to be unlocked and publicity to be handed out. We need people to drive the world’s largest working Triple, to act as guides, to help out on the refreshments counter (an important source of revenue to the museum) and perhaps most vital of all, to welcome our visitors in the foyer and look after the shop. We also need volunteers to greet visitors, show them around and be ready to answer their questions. On car show days, marshals are needed to organise parking and, for our big exhibitions – such as the model railway weekend – we need volunteers to help set up tables and stalls. The museum can never get enough publicity and producing the newsletters, brochures, fliers and maintaining the website play a vital role in attracting the public.
In addition to our seven annual steaming weekends, the museum is open Tuesdays and Thursdays for public viewing and it is on these days that the volunteers do most of their work. As a rule, the electrical team works Tuesdays and the engineers Thursdays, but for other volunteers, this is flexible. And there’s always something to be done – our Membership Secretary is also a keen gardener and he’s the first to spot the need for a bit of rose pruning or weeding. One of our engineering volunteers has elected to keep an eye on the loos and make sure there are clean towels. We have keen photographers who keep visual records of the work in progress, we have a telecoms specialist who has taken charge of the new phone system and a lady steam locomotive owner who keeps the refreshment area stocked and manages the front-of-house team.
There is no age limit at Kempton, either. In fact, one of our keenest volunteers has just celebrated his 21st birthday and he has been given an exciting project to help restore one of the museum’s two steam turbines. We need people of all ages, not only to help run the museum but to come up with new ideas for the future. What should we be offering the public? How should we present ourselves? And are there ways in which we can improve the whole Kempton experience.
Whatever your background and experience, there is a job waiting for you at Kempton Steam Museum. Even if you can only spare a few hours on a Sunday or on steaming weekends, your help would be welcomed. And best of all, you will find yourself part of a friendly, relaxed group of enthusiasts, all of whom share the same passion – to preserve our great heritage site and keep it working for future generations.