The Arts Society explains Heritage Volunteering as follows:

Conservation and preservation of our heritage are tremendous burdens on the limited resources of museums, National Trust properties, historic houses, libraries and gardens. Volunteers help them in non-specialist but vital ways by caring for collections, recording documents, guiding and stewarding.

Stafford is absolutely delighted to announce that it has been awarded a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2014! This is, as far as we know, a first for The Arts society and is the equivalent of an MBE!

The citation which has appeared in a special edition of the London Gazette published June 2nd 2014 (and also available online) states that the award is for 'Promoting universal and lasting awareness and enthusiasm by recording, preserving and conserving Staffordshire's rich cultural heritage'.

Beyond that necessarily brief description lies a wide range of volunteering projects undertaken over several years including:

  Church Recording - currently at St Thomas, Walton on the Hill, Stafford.

  Church Trails - currently at Barlaston.

  Young Arts - currently in partnership with the Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford.

  Heritage Volunteer Projects - currently at the William Salt Library in Stafford, Staffordshire Yeomanry Museum in Stafford, the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, Lichfield Cathedral Libraries and the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas. 

The Arts Society Stafford works in partnership with North Staffordshire DFAS for the Wedgwood Museum projects and the NMA project. The Lichfield Cathedral project and the NMA project are carried out in partnership with Needwood DFAS.

The Arts Society Stafford, while particularly proud to have been honoured with the award, hopes and expects that it will help raise awareness of the massive volunteering effort undertaken by all the member societies of TAS across the country and abroad.

Last but not least TAS Stafford should like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers both past and present who have given up their time and offered their many and varied skills to ensure a lasting heritage for future generations in Staffordshire and beyond.

Wedgwood Museum

The Arts Society Stafford volunteers - in conjunction with North Staffs DFAS - have just launched a new project “Works on Paper”. The Museum has large collections, including watercolour paintings, designs for ceramics, family and amateur paintings through to costume designs for the 1930 bi-centenary Wedgwood Pageants, plans and maps of the factories, together with photographs. The team will work to sort and categorise the works and, where possible, identify the sitter/view, the artist & date. Hopefully it will be possible to create a database to allow public access. Earlier work on the Barlaston Papers archives offered a rare a chance to share in one of the hidden gems of the Wedgwood Museum collection which is the wonderful local social history found within these files.

Currently underway also is work to clean, identify and catalogue a vast number of copperplate engravings of armorial crests used for Wedgwood customers for nearly 300 years.

“As a museum with an extremely small staff the addition of TAS's willing workforce really makes a huge impact on what we are able to achieve”.

Nigel Spicer, Collections Curator       Link to the Wedgewood Museum

National Memorial Arboretum

On the 28th October 2014, volunteers from Stafford, North Staffordshire and Needwood Societies, together with representatives of their Committees, met at the National Memorial Arboretum to present a certificate of achievement to the CEO Sarah Montgomery. The certificate, signed by the NADFAS Chairman, Jill Makepeace-Warne, recognised the detailed recording of 280 fixed memorials. Diana Hadaway, National Chairman of Heritage Volunteers, also attended, together with her predecessor, Juanita Sharman.

Link to the National Memorial Arboretum

However, about 30 new memorials are added each year; so more work to be done in future!

Left to right: David Brass, representing Stafford, Mary Lou Goodbody, representing Needwood, and Glyn Farrington representing North Staffs, Sarah Montgomery, CEO of the National Arboretum

William Salt Library

The Arts Society Stafford Heritage Volunteers have been compiling an index to local articles in the Staffordshire Advertiser, which was started in 1795 and closed in 1973, from original papers held in the William Salt Library. Years 1882 to 1973 have still to be completed, but the team are having a break as funding has been found for the materials to repackage and index some of the library’s collections, comprising notes, transcriptions, sketches and printed material donated by people with a passion for local history. We have started with the collection of William Jones, shoe manufacturer which was deposited in 1900.

Link here to the William Salt Library

... read more in this piece written by volunteer, Sue Gregory

Stafford Yeomanry Museum

The team at this museum located in Stafford’s High House is restricted to three for want of space. They continue to catalogue details and locations of Yeomanry personnel over the years. This work will help families seeking details about their relatives, particularly pertinent in this 100th Anniversary of 1918.

Link here to the Stafford Yeomanry Museum