A PROJECT at the History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum has received recognition for its work creating volunteering opportunities for forced migrants.

Multaka-Oxford was named winner of the 2019 Collections Trust Award at a ceremony on Thursday 12 September. The annual award recognises the often unsung achievements of those who manage museum collections.

Oxford Mail:

Multaka – which means meeting point in Arabic – uses the collections of the two Oxford University museums as a meeting point to bring people together. Working in partnership with local community organisations including Asylum Welcome and Refugee Resource, the museums have recruited a team of over 50 volunteers and have been supporting them learn new skills and gain work experience.

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The volunteers – many of whom have recently arrived in the UK from countries including Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Zimbabwe and Sudan – are working with museum staff to run tours of the collections in Arabic and English, plan and deliver events, co-curate displays, enhance collections documentation and manage social media channels.

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Since the project was established two years ago, Multaka-Oxford has welcomed 56 volunteers, who have given over 1,200 hours of their time. 20 new volunteer roles have been created, from tour guides to collection researchers, and over 1,800 people have attended events and tours run by the volunteers.

Rachel Harrison, volunteer and community engagement coordinator at the museums, said: “Working with the volunteers has transformed our practice.

"It’s made us reflect on how we can be more inclusive in everything we do.”