THE Oxford museums that offer volunteering posts to refugees and asylum seekers has been given an award.

Multaka-Oxford – a project at the History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum scooped the Volunteer Team of the Year at the Museums + Heritage Awards last week.

Multaka – which means meeting point in Arabic – is a two-year project which uses the collections as a meeting point to bring people together.

Working in partnership with local community organisations including Asylum Welcome, Connection Support and Refugee Resource, the museums have recruited a team of 40 volunteers, who have recently arrived from Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Burma and Oman, and have been helping them learn new skills and gain work experience.

The volunteers have been working with museum staff to learn about and research two collections: Islamic scientific instruments at the science museum and a recent donation of textiles from the Middle East and North Africa at Pitt Rivers.

Volunteer-led tours of the History of Science Museum launched late last year, with tours of the Pitt Rivers set to begin on June 14.

Diane Lees, chair of the 2019 judging panel, said: “The genuine mutual benefit to both organisation and volunteer is clear to see with this winning team. They have shared their experience, insight and expertise to collaborate and to reach new audiences, helping the museums to be more relevant and accessible to their communities.”