Volunteering as a house guide at The Vyne

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Barbara Joyce
Volunteer house guide
The Vyne, Hampshire

Adventures with the National Trust
I moved to England from Los Angeles as a newly-wed in 1980. My English husband realised that in common with most Americans who come to these shores, I would love to experience this country’s incredible history as much as possible. Thus we became National Trust members and embarked on a more than 30 year adventure, visiting many of the remarkably well preserved sites.

Coming from a country where a 75 year old house is a noted 'historical' property, because the old is continually removed to make way for the new, I am full of admiration for the abundance that the National Trust preserves for future generations to learn from and marvel at.

Time and again we have visited the nearest properties, The Vyne being top of the list for its historical accessibility and wonderful grounds.

Making it happen
I had always assumed that the room guides were professional historians as their knowledge seemed so replete. Until a friend suggested volunteering, it had never occurred to me that I might come to possess a similar extent of knowledge. Thanks to helpful and encouraging fellow volunteers and staff, I became privileged to share it with other interested people from around the world.

Job satisfaction
I’ve only been a volunteer room guide for a short time, but I am finding it more fun and fulfilling than I’d ever have imagined. The time flies by and the visitors can often be as interesting as the house. Imagine my surprise one day when descendants of the previous owners of the house (the Chute family) visited the Tapestry Room where I work as house guide, all the way from... America.