Penny has been volunteering with us for 20 years, with a wealth of experience across the Museum. Now either at the Mill or in the shop, Penny has found that working with her hands and keeping busy are what keeps her coming back after so long, that and the lovely friends she’s made and people she’s met along the way.
Penny Spence …
I’ve been very lucky to have found roles that I love at the Museum. On Tuesdays I’m a miller and on Fridays I work in the shop. Both give me the opportunity to keep busy, but also to meet new people and share my knowledge of milling.
My volunteering journey began at the Museum back in 2002 or 2003. I’ve been here for nearly 20 years now, 16 of those have been in the mill, but I started out working with schools when they visited, and then moved to working in the historic houses. I later had the opportunity to work in the Mill, and I’ve been there ever since! I started in the shop around 9 years ago and now do one day of each. It’s a great mix of tasks and I enjoy them both, greatly.
Living so nearby and already being familiar with the Museum, it was a natural choice for me when I first considered volunteering. I like meeting people, I like talking to people, and I had lots of time on my hands, so I thought right, now’s the time to find something I would really love to do. I’ve always had an association with the Museum, due to my sister’s involvement in the past, so I thought it would be a lovely place to share my time and expertise.
It wasn’t until I began working at the Mill that I realised just how much I love my volunteering role. I enjoy sharing what I know about the Mill’s history, and how it operates, why it was so important for towns and villages to have mills and what it meant to historic communities. The Mill is my favourite place at the Museum. I feel very lucky to have become a miller. There’s a great sense of working together and connection between the volunteers and staff. We often meet up for a tea at the café, it’s something I really treasure.
A time that really stands out for me is when The Antiques Roadshow came to the Museum. There was a real buzz, and we were all very excited to see what people would bring in, and how the Museum would be shown on TV.
To find out more about volunteering at the Weald & Downland Living Museum click here.