Volunteers with specialist skills and knowledge are involved in many areas of the Gallery. Sometimes volunteer skills are matched to an existing task. At other times, volunteers come to the Gallery with a suggested project.
Volunteers gain an inside view of the Gallery and become part of an enthusiastic team. There are many ways to get involved. You can apply to join one of the existing programs or offer a your time and skills for a specific project please send get in touch with us to discuss how you can get involved.
2018 will mark the thirtieth anniversary of guiding at the Art Gallery of Ballarat by its enthusiastic, volunteer group of Gallery Guides.
In 1987, when the Gallery was undergoing a major building expansion, the Director, Margaret Rich, felt it was time for the Gallery to have its own Voluntary Guiding group. She asked Margaret Martin, Vice President of the Gallery Association, to establish such a Guides group. A meeting of potential guides revealed strong interest, and in February 1988 forty-seven volunteers began training to be Guides.
While there was no access to the Gallery’s collection during the renovations, the Education team of Greg Binns and Jeanne Karmouche set up a training program that had the Guides prepared for the grand opening of the Gallery with the Bicentennial exhibition The Face of Australia in June of that year.
Margaret Rich continued to be a strong supporter of the Guides as is her successor, Gordon Morrison. At Gordon’s suggestion the Guides now also guide special exhibitions.
Guides provide tours of the permanent collection seven days a week and also booked tours for groups. The Guiding group, who are registered City of Ballarat volunteers, meet twice a month. There is a strong emphasis on continued learning through research, excursions and participating in the biennial conferences of the Australian Association of Gallery Guides Organisation (AAGGO), which the Ballarat Guides joined in 2003.
To keep the group vibrant, recruitment drives are held every few years. A Guides’ website is used extensively for education, training, rosters and guidelines and managed through the hard-working committee.
In 2013, the Gallery staged a special exhibition to celebrate twenty-five years of guiding, For the love of art. The exhibition featured some of the Guides’ favourite works and was accompanied by a published catalogue.
The Gallery has a strong, active and vibrant group of volunteer guides who offer free guided tours around the Gallery collections five days a week and on all public holidays.
Applications for Voluntary Guide Training Programs are taken every three to five years depending on need and demand. We encourage you to apply in the next round and would be pleased to consider your application at that time. Trainee guides at the Art Gallery of Ballarat are selected through an interview process.
Intakes of new trainees are advertised in the media and through gallery publications.
Anyone interested in becoming a guide can contact the Convenor of the Guides through the Gallery.
The volunteer guides are members of the Australia-wide guiding organisation Association of Australian Gallery Guiding Organisations (AAGGO). The AAGGO has 19 members from guiding organisations around Australia including all the major State and National Galleries and the aim of the organisation is to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas between the member groups and to assist guides to foster an understanding and appreciation of the collections of their gallery. AAGGO holds a conference every two years and membership is open to accredited guides from the affiliated galleries.
The Training Program is approximately 9 months and is run on Wednesdays. Trainee Guides attend lectures on Art History with particular reference to the Gallery’s Collection.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat holds an outstanding reference collection, particularly of books and other publications about Australian art and artists. A small team of voluntary librarians keep this valuable resource in order.