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Volunteers have a long history of working at the BDA Museum and have made invaluable contributions to the preservation of the collections and the development of the Museum.

Volunteers work alongside paid staff and we value the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm volunteers bring to the museum.

What you can gain from volunteering with us

Volunteers at the museum find they benefit in a variety of ways from gaining new skills, maintaining an involvement in dentistry, obtaining experience of working in a museum. to  satisfaction from preserving and making accessible dentistry’s history. Volunteers also have the opportunity to meet new people and obtain a reference.

Who can volunteer?

Anybody aged over 18 is welcome to volunteer. 


You do not have to have been a dentist. 


On our expression of interest form we ask you what interests you about the museum and what skills you can offer. This helps us suggest a suitable role for you.


We also provide role specific training if you need extra help to fulfil your role. If you are from outside the EU/European Economic Activity countries please check that you are allowed to volunteer.

Possible roles

Possible work that you could be involved with:

  • Cataloguing objects (either paper or computer based
  • Photographing objects
  • Identifying objects
  • Family history research and other research to answer enquiries
  • Exhibition research
  • Writing articles
  • Giving/assisting with talks and tours for groups
  • Oral history interviewing (please see the John McLean Archive website.)

Not all volunteering has to be undertaken at the museum. There are opportunities to help with displays and talks off-site and some activities can be done at home.


Your availability to the British Dental Association Museum

Volunteers do not have fixed hours like paid staff but we do, where possible, appreciate a regular commitment (for example - 1 day a week)


The BDA is not open at weekends so most volunteering opportunities are only available during the week.


We hope that you intend to volunteer for a minimum of 6 months.


Volunteers normally begin with a trial period to check if volunteering at the museum is suitable for them.  If after you start you decide the role is not for you we will try to find another role for you within the museum.



We are able to reimburse reasonable travelling costs to and from the museum. 


We will reimburse public transport costs at standard fare up to the equivalent of the hourly rate of a skilled volunteer as defined by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£21 in 2013).


If you are unable to use public transport due to a disability we will pay reasonable mileage and parking costs. If you are claiming benefits please check with your local Jobcentre Plus if volunteering will affect your benefits. 



The museum is very small and volunteering with us will not necessarily lead to a paid position with us.

Museum staff are happy to provide advice on careers in museums. We can also provide a reference for a job after you have volunteered with us on a regular basis.


How to become involved

If you would like to volunteer, please complete the volunteer interest form and send to museum@bda.org.



Museum volunteer interest form


​We will contact you to arrange an informal meeting to discuss further what type of volunteering role you could undertake at the museum. 


We will also take up the reference that you have provided.


If you live at a distance and are hoping to volunteer ‘remotely’ the discussion can take place by telephone. 


After your discussion we will contact you to finalise your volunteering role and days/hours. 


On the rare occasion where we feel that volunteering at the museum would not be suitable for you we will provide you with a written explanation and suggest other opportunities to you. 


Due to the limited size of the museum and the workforce we do have an upper limit for the number of volunteers and if this number is reached we will again signpost you to other volunteering opportunities.