GoMA offers free guided tours given by our lovely volunteer guides every Saturday and Sunday. These free 30–40 minute tours talk about the history of the building and introduce our exhibitions. We have spoken with Stuart P. Lowson, leader of our Guide Services, asking him to tell us more about what goes on behind the scenes with the guides.
What do volunteer guides do?
Guiding at GoMA is a unique and enjoyable experience. Volunteer guides deliver tours of the gallery, which can last up to an hour, on a drop-in basis. If there are no visitors looking for a tour, our guides set off around the gallery speaking to those they meet on the stairs, balconies and galleries. We call this ‘Pop-Up’ guiding and it is very successful. Exhibitions change regularly so there’s never time to become bored and always something new to discuss with our visitors.
Can anyone apply to be a volunteer guide?
Yes, we welcome applications to become guides from people of all ages and walks of life.
What is the average time commitment?
Guides are asked to commit to one 2 hour slot per month (either a Saturday or a Sunday) but you can do more is you wish! We use an online Doodle which allows guides to book the slots which suit them.
Do you provide any training?
Full and extensive training is given and new guides are supported until they feel ready to ‘go it alone’.
What’s in it for me?
As well as being part of the team guiding in a world-renowned gallery, there are the following benefits:
- Tours of new exhibitions led by the curator. This is a great opportunity to become familiar with new exhibitions and talks, by the curators, are full of invaluable information both about artists and their works
- Full, illustrated notes for each new exhibition. These are available before an exhibition opens to give you time to prepare for tours and become familiar with the works on display
- The support of an experienced team of guides. This gives trainees the chance to work with several experienced guides and allows you to develop your own style and progress your training at a speed best suited to you
- Informal drop-ins, on Saturdays, to meet up with other guides
- A weekly email keeping you up to date with the guiding rota, new exhibitions and gallery news
- Invitations to official openings both in GoMA and other galleries
- Discounts in the shop and café
This is what some of our current guides say about volunteering at GoMA:
I love being able to enjoy interesting interactions with so many visitors, from all over the world, who come to GoMA .
I became a volunteer guide at GoMA shortly after it opened in, I think, 1996 and very quickly felt that I had become part of an amazing family – a feeling which still exists today because of the friendliness within the building and its welcoming of all, be they locals or visitors from all parts of the world who come to enjoy the architecture and the art works therein.
Guiding at GoMA is an opportunity for me to share the controversial history and culture of our fabulous city with visitors and to introduce them to the wonderful permanent artworks alongside the diverse and inclusive contemporary exhibitions in the gallery.