Volunteer Internship vacancy

Property: Mount Stewart

Region: Northern Ireland

Salary: Voluntary internship (agreed out of pocket expenses paid; accommodation provided)

Hours: 30 hours over the week as agreed

Working Pattern: Internship for 6 months

About the role

This is an opportunity to live on the Mount Stewart estate and play an integral role in one of the National Trust’s largest conservation/building/re-servicing projects.

You will assist the Project Conservator and House team in all aspects of packing, protecting and cataloging the historic collection while building works are being carried out. Also, helping to communicate our work to the public by creating exciting interpretation and giving talks and demonstrations.

You will lead on projects agreed with the Project Conservator in storage management, volunteer management and packing and protection.

The work will be challenging and fast paced with unparalleled access to rooms and collections not previously seen by the public.

You will work alongside key National Trust and external specialists and assist with in-situ conservation work

This first hand experience, coupled with the Trust’s commitment to provide relevant support and development opportunities will provide a fantastic stepping stone into your professional career in preventive conservation and management of historic collections.

About you

This will suit someone who:

  • Is planning a career in the museum/conservation sector and needs to build skills, experience and connections.
  • Has an interest in caring for historic objects and buildings and enjoy engaging with the visiting public
  • Confident leading a volunteer team of mixed age groups
  • Has an ability to follow instructions and work well as a team but is also self motivated, able to use their own initiative and motivate others
  • Displays good manual dexterity and observational skills
  • Capable of prioritising the use of limited resources
  • Has working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications and working with databases

What is a National Trust Internship?

Our internships are volunteer roles that give you the chance to gain work experience across different areas of the National Trust. As you’ll be attached to a particular project or area of work, you’ll be able to develop your skills and experience in that area. We’re committed to supporting the personal development of volunteers on our internships, and recognise how important work experience is to career development.

About us

Here at the National Trust, we want even more people to enjoy our extraordinary places. We want people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved with them, be inspired by them, and love them as much as we do. That’s why we’ve put some bold ambitions in place. We want everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to feel like a member of the National Trust and, by 2020, we want to have grown our membership to more than five million.

About Mount Stewart and the Project

Home of the Marquesses of Londonderry, the earliest parts of Mount Stewart house date to the late 18th century. The house was greatly enlarged in the 1840s. The glorious garden was given to the National Trust in 1955 by Edith, Lady Londonderry, and is one of the most significant in its care. Her daughter Lady Mairi Bury donated the house in 1976, and continued to live at Mount Stewart until her death in 2009. Lady Rose Lauritzen, her daughter, now lives for part of the year at Mount Stewart.

The house has embarked on a three-year project which will involve important conservation work to the Grade A listed building.
The work includes important repairs and improvements to the structure and services in the house. Alongside this a program of conservation and research will help see the house, its contents and stories restored and brought back to life.

As a National Trust top priority project the £6m investment will help us to bring Edith, Lady Londonderry’s vision back to life and we will be keeping the house open so that our visitors can watch the work in progress.


To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to sandra.mcmullan@nationaltrust.org.uk outlining:

  • Why you would like to be involved with the conservation work of the National Trust and Mount Stewart in particular?
  • What experience, knowledge and skills make you the best candidate for the internship?
  • What you’d hope to give to the project and gain form The National Trust in your time with us at Mount Stewart?

Closing date: 12th Feb 2013. Interview date:  21st February 2013.

Contact Name: Sandra McMullan

Contact Email: sandra.mcmullan@nationaltrust.org.uk

Contact Phone Number: 02897512346


Introduction to our Project Conservator – Fiona

Fiona Austin-Byrne – Project Conservator

As Project Conservator I am responsible for the packing, protection and storage of the historic collection at Mount Stewart. I work closely with the joiners, house staff, family members and specialist engineers and conservators to make this happen as efficiently and professionally as possible, following best practices in conservation, whilst offering access for an enjoyable visitor experience.

Fiona Austin-Byrne (Project Conservator), preparing to meet and greet the public at the Garden & Craft Fair

We hope to improve environmental conditions, display techniques and conserve or replace items to lift the presentation of all rooms.

By the end of the project we will be able to open several more rooms all over the house.

I’m actively seeking volunteers to help me with the following tasks:

  • Moving and packing furniture and objects
  • Making bespoke in-situ protection for fixtures or large items
  • Conservation cleaning and writing condition reports for objects
  • Cataloguing objects (IT skills desirable)
  • Making individual furniture dust covers (basic dressmaking skills essential)

Full training and supervision provided and travel expenses paid.

It would be a great opportunity for students or graduates looking for experience working in the heritage sector or those who would just like to be involved with the work of the National Trust during the project and beyond.

Please contact me to arrange an initial visit and chat.


Volunteer Opportunities Open Day

Volunteer Opportunities Open Day

Wednesday 6th June 2012

11am–1pm and 3pm-5pm

There are many ways in which you can get involved in the project. Come along on the 6th June to find out more!

As an essential part of the major conservation project at Mount Stewart, volunteers are sought to assist in the collections documentation element of the project

An open day will be held at Mount Stewart this Wednesday 6 June 2012, 11am-1pm and 3pm-5pm.

Please contact Alison Mitchelson by e-mail at Alison.Mitchelson@nationaltrust.org.uk or by phone on 07530 919746 if you have any queries, or please come along on the 6th to find out how you can help!

We look forward to seeing you there!