Melbourne Museum of Printing
Although just now re-starting after years of unsatisfactory storage and numerous moves and disruption, this is the world's most comprehensive collection of machinery, artefacts and documents relating to the craft and business of printing and related industries.
Apart from our public programs (two afternoons per week) we also offer our Access Studio for the use of artists, writers and enthusiasts for text printing by traditional methods.
At this stage, the Museum is wholly operated by volunteers. When revenue permits a part-time coordinator will be employed but until then, the volunteers have to coordinate themselves.
The Museum is always glad to hear from persons willing to help us perform our task. The Australian Government agency, Centrelink, accepts the Melbourne Museum of Printing as an approved provider of volunteer placements. Senior volunteers are especially welcomed.
Although development of a "specialty" within the Museum is encouraged, it is hoped that all volunteers will be willing to undertake "general duties" as needed especially when visitors are present. A Volunteer applicant must have good references and be a "team player".
Basic training is given in traditional printing and museum operations. Specialised training will be given for those who wish to develop particular interests.
Regular volunteers may apply for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses and meal allowances. Hot and cold drinks and snacks are free to volunteers.
Volunteers are covered by a Volunteer Insurance policy as recommended by Volunteering Australia.
Volunteers are encouraged to be multi-functional, to be at ease with a range of tasks. But many will wish to have a specific task to get back to when general duties are out of the way.
The Museum has thousands of sets of typecasting matrices for its several systems of typecasting. Many of these have not been looked at since arrival up to 35 years ago.
It is a job requiring quite a bit of learning and concentration, and very absorbing for those with a mind for details and systems.
The interest in a book in this collection is not "who wrote it?" but "who printed it, and how was it printed?"
Working with these books involves quite some understanding of printing processes, as well as patience to look closely at the books in order to describe them.
A database is to be developed of printers and publishers, typefaces used, page sizes, and the many other technical aspects of book design. This resource will benefit those who use our Access Studio to print their own books.
We also have a reference library, with books and magazines on printing and other matters which are held for their subject matter.
There are over a hundred machines of one kind or another, and thousands of artefacts and documents of the many kinds related to printing.
Apart from the obvious typesetting and printing machines there are computers and office equipment, engravings and stereotypes, type founts and type formes, business documents and artistic documents, filing cabinets and type cabinets, photocopiers and duplicators and many other things.
Many of these have not been cared for, identified, labelled, described or catalogued.
A range of skills will be needed over the next few years to deal with these items.
Our many visitors and students may benefit from a volunteer talking about the machines and processes.
Persons with knowledge and experience of printing processes certainly have a place here. But others can take part, provided they have a thirst for knowledge.
An important task for our volunteers, when visitors are present, is to watch over the many items which are on open display, discouraging visitors from touching except when invited and as far as possible, prevent losses by being visible.
Volunteers with good contact skills may like to act as the Museum's mouthpiece and help us to keep in touch with the many groups who are interested in our programs. These include schools, universities, printing, advertising and design firms, computer clubs and community groups.
There are many tasks to do in our office. Many of the tasks involve use of a computer. Most of the computer-based work is with older computers which are simple to operate and provide experience with fundamental operation of computers.
And of course there are the usual duties to be performed around any organisation such as cleaning, painting, and catering.
Get a detailed understanding of traditional methods of printing, experience the operation (and development) of a museum. There are opportunities to visit other museums. Gain confidence in the workplace and in dealing with a wide range of visitors.
All regular volunteers are eligible, and indeed encouraged, to make use of the Access Studio for some enjoyable printmaking for themselves.
For those who are in the job market, the Museum will provide a statement of volunteer service and if appropriate a letter of reference.
Then visit the Museum (opening days on our General Admission page) for a look and a chat.
Or call or email our Volunteer Coordinator (with your phone number, please) to arrange a special visit. See details on our Contact Page.
For a chance to take part in a challenging research project involving the future of public versus private transport, check out Balance Research Association.
This is a project directed by Michael Isaachsen in the public interest. Issues include the true and total cost of transportation, equalising subsidies between road and rail, how will society cope with four times today's transport task? Duties may include a lot of reading; liaison with other researchers, academics, transport organisations and transport users (mainly businesses); preparation of papers and reports, maintaining the website.
Volunteering Victoria is a clearing house of information about volunteering. If the positions mentioned above don't appeal, and you'd like to find some challenging voluntary work, give them a call.
Check out Volunteering Victoria www.VolunteeringVictoria.com.au.