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.
The Gallery Guides provide tours of the permanent collection seven days a week, booked tours for groups and special tours, such as the Art & Empathy tours and tours of special exhibitions.
The Guiding group, who are registered City of Ballarat volunteers, meet twice a month to take part in continued learning through research, training and planning.
They also organise occasional excursions and usually send representatives to the biennial conferences of the Australian Association of Gallery Guides Organisation (AAGGO), which the Ballarat Guides joined in 2003.
Recruitment drives are held every few years. A Guides’ website is used extensively for education, training, rosters and guidelines and managed by the Guides committee.
History of the Guides group
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 and she asked Margaret Martin, Vice President of the Gallery Association, to initiate it. In February 1988, 47 volunteers began training to be Guides.
While there was no access to the Gallery’s collection during the renovations, the Guides Education team of Greg Binns and Jeanne Karmouche set up a training program that prepared the Guides for the grand opening of the Gallery with the Bicentennial exhibition The Face of Australia in June of that year.
In 2013, the Gallery presented For the love of art, a special exhibition to celebrate 25 years of guiding. The exhibition featured some of the Guides’ favourite works and was accompanied by a published catalogue.
Applications for Voluntary Guide Training Programs are taken every three to five years depending on need and demand. Intakes of new trainees are advertised in the media and through gallery publications. Trainee guides at the Art Gallery of Ballarat are selected through an interview process.
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.