Celebrating Broadgreen Heritage House’s tireless volunteers

24/06/2021 10:47am

Volunteers at Broadgreen Historic House have been treated to afternoon tea as a show of appreciation for all their work at an event to mark National Volunteer Week.

The annual week, celebrated this year from 20-26 June, recognises the value of the time and effort put in by volunteers, many of whom give their time to help multiple organisations.

Team Leader Arts and Heritage, Sarah Newman-Watt says there are about 35 volunteers who help with a range of tasks at Broadgreen, including providing guided tours, helping with programmes and ensuring the front desk is always manned.

“We have a fantastic group of volunteers who do so much, not just at Broadgreen but also the teams who volunteer at Isel House and Founders Heritage Park as well. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to keep these facilities open to the public as often as we do and share these important parts of Nelson’s history.”

Lois Diaper has been volunteering at Broadgreen for 22 years. She doesn’t feel right if she isn’t in her period maid uniform when she’s on duty as a guide.

“People appreciate it because they comment on the fact I’m dressed up,” she says.

As a church organist, the piano in Broadgreen’s parlour is an item of particular interest and something she always features in her guided tours.

“You really get to know people. I really enjoy taking people through the house, explaining the exhibits, and hopefully answering some of their questions.

“I think it can be quite difficult to take everything in because there’s so much in there. People really seem to appreciate the personal touch.”

Karen Richards, a former textiles teacher, has been volunteering behind the scenes for the past five years, assisting with conservation and planning exhibits for the house’s extensive 3000-piece textiles collection.

“I love it, it’s a whole different world, and it makes you appreciate the beauty and quality of some of the historic textiles you just don’t see anymore.”

Di Scott, a retired teacher and education volunteer at Broadgreen House, runs the popular school holiday programme Textile Kids, as well as overseeing school visits and the Box Room space for children in Broadgreen House.

“For me, Broadgreen is about bringing history alive for children through the Textile Kids holiday programmes, school visits and hands-on activities in the house. My passion is seeing kids learning through doing and having fun.”

-If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at any of Nelson City Council’s heritage facilities, please contact Sarah.Newman-Watt@NCC.govt.nz