Regular Help

Salt Warehouse checkers

The National Waterways Museum Gloucester is housed in Llanthony Warehouse situated in the heart of Gloucester Docks. It has recently re-opened after a £1 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant which saw the displays and the warehouse building itself refurbished, a new entrance added and the Sabrina 5 barge, (part of the National Historic Fleet just like the Cutty Sark and HMS Victory) refurbished to offer temporary exhibition space and a venue for education and hires.

Just a long the canal from the Museum is the Salt Warehouse – one of our Museum stores. We need to do a big inventory check of the thousands of collections objects that are stored in there, to make sure that our records are fully up to date and accurate.

What's involved?

This is a big task requiring a methodical, logical approach.

We have a list of where we think the objects are in the Salt Warehouse, so it will be a case of going along shelf by shelf on each of the racks, ensuring that the records are correct and making amendments where necessary. We will be checking that the object number, object name and description and location all tie up together. We have pictures of the objects so if you don’t know your cratchs from your snatchers, please do not be put off. You can use the photograph and descriptions to confirm the item was the one you were looking for.


There is likely to be objects in the store that are not on our original list. We will therefore be photographing and recording them, noting a description and location for them as well as their accession numbers.


The revised up to date information will be used to amend our computerised database so it is completely accurate.


We would ideally be looking for people to spend a regular day a week, on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday helping us in the Salt Warehouse. On some occasions you will be working down there with our curatorial staff, on others you will be working with other volunteers.

There are some access issues in the Salt Warehouse. The corridors are quite narrow in parts and we would want some of the volunteers to be able to climb a ladder or step over large objects to get to those at the back. Wheelchairs users would be able to access the lower shelves of the main corridors of the store, but not the small areas between shelves. The warehouse is not brightly lit and can be quite dim at times. There are also objects that we can’t easily fit on shelves stored on the floor, so we think this might not be a suitable volunteer task for people with visual impairments.

If you would like more details about this challenge, or to discuss things over without committing yourself, please email

Why get involved?

This is a great way to see behind the scenes at the Museum and get to handle and look at a good section of their collections that are not on current display to the public. If your passion is boats and canals it is a great chance to learn more whilst helping out the Museum. If you are looking for a career in museums or heritage it is a great way to get experience of a key curatorial task that you can talk about in job applications and interviews.


There is also something very satisfying about inventory work, logically and methodically working your way round and seeing the sections  that have been audited slowly grow.

The National Waterways Museum Gloucester has a friendly and sociable existing volunteer team that are always very welcoming towards new recruits, so it is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. You may find that you start volunteering with us in the Salt Warehouse and then move onto other tasks as the inventorying is finished.

Oh and you might get to see and list a short “snatcher” tow rope or the triangular “cratch” front-board of a narrowboat, whilst going through the stores!

How to get involved?

  1. Sign into your account or sign up to Volunteer Makers.
  2. Accept the challenge
  3. Await a response from the National Waterways Museum Gloucester with more information 

Ideal Skills

  • Archiving
  • Conservation
  • Photography
  • Project Management
  • Research
  • Working independently
  • Working with Databases

Ideal Interests

  • Archiving
  • Community Work
  • Computers and Technology
  • Conservation
  • Curatorial/Working with Museum Collection

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