Museum and Art Gallery

Opening hours:

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
  • Sunday 12pm - 4pm

Find us at:

The Strand, Derby DE1 1BS
01332 641901
Plan your visitto Museum and Art Gallery
The Silk Mill

Opening hours:

  • Monday-Wednesday 10am - 5pm
  • Thursday 10am - 8pm
  • Friday-Sunday 10am - 5pm

Find us at:

Silk Mill Lane, Derby DE1 3AF
01332 641901
Plan your visitto The Silk Mill
Pickford's House

Opening hours:

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
  • Sunday Closed

Find us at:

41 Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1DA
01332 641901
Plan your visitto Pickford's House

Poppies: Weeping Window Visitor Experience Volunteer

Description of Activity: Poppies: Weeping Window will open at The Silk Mill in June 2017, specially presented by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions to mark the centenary of the First World War.  Poppies: Weeping Window will be an iconic cascade of several thousand handmade ceramic poppies which will pour from The Silk Mill tower.  The sculpture is by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper.

We will be recruiting a large team of volunteers for the duration of Poppies: Weeping Window and we’d love you to be a part of it.  This is a brilliant opportunity to volunteer to be part of a team who will help visitors to make the very most of their visit to The Silk Mill whilst Poppies: Weeping Window is on display.   Training will be provided to ensure you feel happy and confident in your role and, where possible, we’ll work with you to find a regular volunteering pattern to suit your availability throughout the summer.

There will be two roles available:

  • a primarily outdoor role, supporting visitors to find The Silk Mill, welcoming visitors when they arrive and enhancing the visit experience with information and help where needed
  • a primarily indoor role, welcoming visitors, providing extra information in the special exhibition and supporting Silk Mill staff at busy retail and catering points

As a volunteer, you’ll be welcome to choose whichever role you think you’ll most enjoy, or you can alternate between the two.  Whichever role you choose to undertake, you’ll make sure that every single person who visits has a memorable experience and that they feel inspired to come and visit time and again.

Volunteer Coordinator: Gemma Hopkins –

Timescale and Training: All volunteers must attend an Induction and Training Session.  The first of these sessions have been scheduled for Saturday 27 May, Monday 29 May, Tuesday 30 May and Thursday 1 June.  Further training dates will be added as necessary.  Poppies: Weeping Window will be on display at The Silk Mill every day between 9 June and 23 July.

Main tasks and responsibilities:

  • Promoting and supporting all elements of the Poppies: Weeping Window related visitor experience, to include the sculpture, exhibition and public engagement programme
  • Welcoming all visitors to The Silk Mill and assisting with enquiries in a positive and friendly manner, whatever the weather
  • Providing information on 14 – 18 NOW: Centenary Art commissions and specific First World War relevance at this site
  • Instructing visitors in a clear, polite and friendly manner
  • Assisting staff in the monitoring and controlling of visitor flow during peak times
  • Handing out of leaflets, giving information and directing members of the public to The Silk Mill from shopping areas and the rail station
  • Making sure all areas of The Silk Mill are clean and tidy, ensuring the site is welcoming and attractive to visitors
  • Being an ambassador for The Silk Mill

If you choose to volunteer primarily inside The Silk Mill, the additional role of supporting The Silk Mill’s café and retail offer will be a key responsibility so, in addition to the above, you’ll need to be comfortable with cash handling.

This volunteer role may be for you if you:

  • Have a positive and outgoing personality, with a good sense of humour
  • Have a good level of spoken English
  • Will take pride in and enjoy welcoming visitors of all ages and backgrounds
  • Are well-presented, reliable and personable
  • Feel confident in a customer-facing environment
  • Be happy to work outdoors, whatever the British summertime weather
  • Have a willingness to work as part of a team and the ability to remain calm under pressure

Why volunteer?  This is a totally unique opportunity to be part of a very special event in Derby.  As a Poppies: Weeping Window Volunteer you’ll have the opportunity to develop your knowledge of the beautiful and poignant sculpture and of the historic Derby Silk Mill.  You’ll have the opportunity to meet people from all over the country (and beyond!), including families and young people. As a volunteer, you’ll be working as part of a team of lovely people and will have the chance to refine your communication and customer care skills.  We’ll provide you with free tea and coffee to keep you going throughout the day and a lovely room to relax in during your breaks.  On top of all this, we hope you’ll enjoy feeling really proud to be doing something special for Derby.

Other information:  Sensible footwear and appropriate clothing is essential.  We will provide you with a branded tabard for easy identification by visitors but you’ll need to ensure you have appropriate clothing for whatever weather the British summertime offers.

Volunteers must be 16 or over.


How to apply

To register your interest, please email Gemma at and we’ll send you a link to an online application form. To request a paper copy of the form or for more information call 01332 642268.  Please return completed paper forms to Gemma Hopkins, The Silk Mill Museum, Silk Mill Lane, Derby, DE1 3AF. Please contact us to discuss any access requirements you have.  We are committed to making reasonable adjustments where possible to maximise access to volunteering.

Apply for Poppies: Weeping Window Visitor Experience Volunteeronline

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