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How volunteers help us care for our collections

Book conservation volunteer in action mending a historic book at Belton House, Lincolnshire
Book conservation volunteer at Belton House, Lincolnshire | © National Trust Images/Anastasia Stratigou

With over one million collection items to look after at over 200 historic places, we are busy all year round carrying out vital conservation work. We wouldn’t be able to do it without our dedicated volunteers.

How our volunteers care for our collections

From our volunteer room stewards, who help bring the stories of special places to life for our visitors, to archive and conservation volunteers, who help to care for and catalogue collections in our care, our volunteers do some incredible work.

Digitising at Sutton Hoo
Find out how our volunteers have helped with the recent digitisation work carried out on archive images of the Great Ship Burial excavation at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk. These images, captured in 1939, helped record this fascinating discovery.Learn more about our work at Sutton Hoo
Caring for our collections at Belton
A specially-trained team of conservation volunteers at Belton House, Lincolnshire, help care for its collection of over 20,000 books. When the house is closed, the team diligently work their way around the library shelves, cleaning, examining and recording the details of each inspected book.Learn more about our work at Belton
Cataloguing Erddig's collection
Erddig, Wales, has the second largest collection of items in the whole of the National Trust. Since April 2013 scores of volunteers have been busy cataloguing Erddig’s 30,000 objects. They’ve been working hard, taking photos of each item and documenting its history for our online catalogue database.Learn more about our work at Erdigg
Volunteer detective work at Mount Stewart
John and a group of fellow volunteers at Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland, did some detective work using Mount Stewart’s photographic collection and delving into historical records. They've managed to shed some light on the 135-year-old mystery of the disappearance of Lady Londonderry’s yacht, along with all those on board, on 11 April 1985.Discover the mystery of the Mount Stewart yacht
Elderly volunteer carefully cleaning decorative ceramic teapot with a cotton swab
Volunteer cleaning ceramics at Greenway, Devon | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Since volunteering there I’ve come to love the wonderful old house and getting up close and personal with some of the objects in the collection.

A quote by CarolNational Trust Conservation Volunteer, Dunham Massey
A group of people listening to a volunteer as they lead a guided tour around the house of Mompesson House, Salisbury, Wiltshire

Search our volunteer roles

Whether you're looking to help in the great outdoors, work with the public or get up close and personal with the houses, take a look at what's happening near you.

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A volunteer talking to a visitor at Wightwick Manor and Gardens, West Midlands

Frequently asked questions on volunteering 

These frequently asked questions should give you all you need to know about who can volunteer, what it involves and how to apply.

A woman with long black hair is tending to some plants in a walled garden on a sunny day. She is wearing a raincoat and has a smile on her face.

Meet the volunteers 

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to volunteer with us? From perfecting the art of lavender topiary to giving talks at historic houses, a selection of volunteers share their stories about helping out at some of the places we care for.

A close-up of a hand gently brushing a dusty surface with a specialist brush, at Tyntesfield in Bristol

Tackling dust in historic houses 

Discover why the issue of protecting historic surfaces from dust is important to conservation work.

West End Refugee Service (WERS) volunteering with rangers at Wallington, Northumberland

Volunteer with us 

There are hundreds of different ways you can volunteer for the National Trust at historic houses, in the gardens or at the many coastal and countryside landscapes we care for.