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Volunteers - Projects

In our first volunteer year, 2005 –2006, thirty six projects were undertaken involving twenty volunteers. Some projects are long term and take several months or more to complete, while others can be short term but just as important.

Old textTranscribing

Transcribing old documents can be challenging. Original text is written in various hands and writing styles, poor spelling and faded inks make it difficult to decipher.  One of our volunteers has this to say:

"Decoding the various styles of handwriting can be an onerous, though absorbing task. We must compare and observe other words in the text to fully understand what has been written and often another pair of eyes is helpful. Sometimes we need to use census records for further verification."

You will be pleased to know completed transcripts and indexes of old documents such as church registers or itemised lists of collections are being added to our online catalogue. A word search is available and our Transcript and Indexes User Guide 11 gives more information. Check our news page for availability of indexes on CD rom.

Old photosPhotographs

Photographs are being scanned and added as thumbnails to our catalogue. Photographs and slides such as in the John Rippington collection have been identified and itemised by volunteers from the Jarrow & Hebburn Local History Society.


Some of our volunteers have proved their presentation skills by giving workshops on their own specialised subjects. Attendances by the public and other local authority departments have been good and appreciation shown.

NewcastleCity Library:

"Useful to get an insight to sources available at TWAS and be able to direct inquirers from the local studies library."

Barry Redfern:

"Giving the talk and leading the workshop was an interesting experience and there was good feedback throughout. I am grateful for the facilities and support given by Tyne and Wear archives staff. Thank you very much."


Other volunteers have practised their mentoring skills with new searchers, school children and people who have special needs with good results.

Work experience volunteer:

"Good interaction with the school children. Gave them an idea about scanning photographs and documents with regards to the equipment and final image."

Old textExhibitions

Assistance in preparing exhibitions some of which are in partnership with the Discovery Museum: The Red Sea Exhibition, Mauretania, Chains of Office

Work experience volunteer:

"I have thoroughly enjoyed the week and would be very interested in another similar placement. Thank you!"