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7 Jun 2023

The volunteer experience at the Tenement House

Written by Ana Sanchez-De la Vega, Visitor Services Manager (Glasgow Cluster)
A group of women sit round a table, with several copies of books laid out as well as cake snacks and cups of tea.
Some of the members of our volunteers’ book club at the Tenement House
Volunteers play an invaluable role in protecting and sharing the rich heritage of National Trust for Scotland places.

Each volunteer contributes their unique talents and experiences, creating a vibrant and supportive community that is the backbone of our organisation. Their dedication, knowledge and passion for heritage enables us to share the vibrant stories of Scotland with visitors from near and far. Whether they’ve been with us for decades or have just begun their journey, every volunteer is a vital part of our success.

Our volunteer team at the Tenement House represent one of the communities who make the Trust such an exceptional place to work. They go above and beyond, immersing themselves in Glasgow’s social history, to provide a further enriching experience for our visitors. An example of their commitment is their monthly book club, where they delve into books relating to the city’s social history and tenements, supported by our Visitor Services Supervisor Emma Hamilton.

While some volunteers have been with us for many years, accumulating well-deserved long-service awards, others have recently joined, bringing fresh perspectives and energy to our team. It’s not uncommon to witness them breaking into song, delighting visitors with old Glasgow tunes. Their guiding in the house not only entertains people but also helps us to foster a deeper connection between visitors and Glasgow’s social history.

The parlour at the Tenement House, set up as it would have looked in the early 20th century. It has a Turkish red rug and two horsehair black chairs facing a mantelpiece with a green tiled fireplace.
The parlour at the Tenement House, where volunteers bring to life amazing stories from Glasgow’s past.

Throughout the years, our volunteers have been instrumental in highlighting the importance of the house to visitors. Their unwavering support was especially evident during the challenges posed by the pandemic. They readily adapted to new circumstances and found innovative ways to continue sharing the stories of the house with the world. We are so grateful for their dedication and resilience.

Another of the things that makes the Tenement House volunteer team truly remarkable is the diversity of backgrounds and experiences they bring. Some are students eager to explore the world of heritage; others have enjoyed long careers as doctors, architects, teachers or bank tellers. Despite their varied paths, they come together with a shared passion for history and enriching the visitor experience.

Visitors frequently mention the volunteers as the highlight of their experience, praising their knowledge, warmth and willingness to engage. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about Glasgow’s past, we’re sure you’ll enjoy a conversation with our incredible team when you visit the Tenement House.

Beyond the visited rooms of the house itself, a team of archive volunteers is gaining valuable hands-on experience at the Tenement House. They dive deep into the archives, meticulously piecing together fragments of the past, uncovering new snippets of history along with personal stories.

The National Trust for Scotland offers a range of opportunities to help protect our country’s nature, beauty and heritage. By becoming a volunteer, you’ll not only contribute to the conservation of Scotland’s treasures but also embark on a journey of personal growth and learning, becoming part of a great community!

Together, we can continue looking after Scotland’s heritage for generations to come.

Find out more about volunteering opportunities with the Trust