Heritage Volunteers may be asked to help conserve or catalogue books, manuscripts, archives and maps, conserve or clean textiles or metalwork, or act as guides or stewards in museums, historic houses or gardens. Appropriate training is given by professionals. Volunteers help with conservation and preservation of our heritage in non-specialist but vital ways by caring for collections and recording documents.
NADFAS is delighted to be working in partnership with the National Trust at Polesden Lacey. Over 30 NADFAS Heritage Volunteers from Societies throughout NADFAS East Surrey Area have been working there on a costume project since January 2009. The volunteers have been reproducing period costumes for staff and volunteers to wear at themed events and these have been shown to excellent effect at the special Edwardian Days in the House. Leatherhead DFAS member, Linda Packman says 'From the outset the costume project at Polesden has given us all some wonderful experiences. We very much enjoy a team challenge; working together and learning the intricacies of Edwardian fashion.' 'This has meant that all our considerable talents have come into play. It has been rewarding to see the outfits being worn with such pride on the occasion of the May Day event.' 'The displays on the balcony received many compliments as we now have a number of shop-window mannequins donated by John Lewis. I think that the costumes produced do themselves tell a tale of enthusiasm and rewarding enjoyment.' 'We are working towards the fashion event in October with excitement and hope to see many NADFAS members there.'
Kathy Grigson, another LeDFAS member adds: 'In addition to the enjoyment of creating the costumes, there is also the opportunity to interact with the many visitors who come into the workshop from all parts of this country as well as abroad. As you might expect, the majority are women but a surprising number of men show an equal interest, one gentleman being brave enough to try on the butler’s costume which has been on display.’ 'All have been keen to know where we find our designs and details of the materials in use, sometimes provoking the donation of items that have long been stored away in search of a good home. The Edwardian hand-operated Singer sewing machine is often a cause for comment and it is a delight to see the young children, under Lynn’s guidance, trying it out on a very simple bag and carrying it away with great pride, hopefully to sew the seeds of a future interest in working with textiles.'