A day in the life of a Room Storyteller

Valerie volunteering at Ickworth

I have been a Volunteer at Ickworth House for 3 years, I am a Room Storyteller and my role is to tell the stories of Ickworth which are many and varied, and to answer any questions visitors might have.

I volunteer fortnightly on Thursdays, we have a team briefing before each shift where a member of the House Staff tells us any information we need to know for the day.

The rooms are allocated by volunteers picking a number out of a hat which means that each time we are in a different room to the previous week.  We could be downstairs in the servants’ quarters in the kitchen or in the carpenter’s workshop or upstairs in one of the state rooms surrounded by fantastic paintings, ceramics and furniture.  

I am often asked if storyteller volunteers need to know everything about all the rooms and of course that is not possible, there is so much to know and none of us know it all! I have found that I tend to remember the things that interest me most. I particularly love the paintings and can usually tell visitors all about those and also the ceramics such as the Majolica plates in the Library or the beautiful Meissen chocolate set in the Bedroom. 

There are volunteer folders in each room with information to refer to if we need to.  The information is also available to download from the volunteer website, so I have found it very useful to have it all on my iPad so that I can look things up quickly if needed.

One of the things I enjoy most about being a House volunteer is meeting the visitors and we see people from all over the UK and abroad.  Many people are visiting for the first time on holiday and I have had some lovely chats with visitors telling them all about Ickworth and the area.

Each week is different; downstairs in the basement room’s visitors will see objects such as the kitchen utensils which are familiar to them from their own family history, and they will often reminisce about people in their own families who were in service in a big house somewhere.  A favourite talking point is the big dresser with all the copper pots and pans.

Every week is different and I would recommend volunteering to anyone, it is well worth doing.

Valerie Seaman, 2017

Costumed interpreter in the kitchen at Ickworth
Volunteer costumed interpreter in the kitchen in the basement at Ickworth, Suffolk
Costumed interpreter in the kitchen at Ickworth

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