This year we, a small team of students from KELL (Kirov Economic and Legal Lyceum), tried our hand at volunteer activities for the first time. We had no idea what we’d be doing as we entered the snug room, where a sign reading «Volunteer Service» hangs on the door.
Day 1 (28th of March, 2017)
We were greeted by Confucius’ temporary role executor (as the writings on the walls proclaimed), unshakable Mikhail Kozhuhovsky. He was introduced to the swing of things and met a charming foreigner Hendrickje Kehlenbeck, Germany, who prepared a great presentation in English about the so-called Indian series of tapestries.
After the story began, duties were assigned and numbered volunteer badges were given out. One pair was on duty at the entrance, another patrolled the cloakroom, and others signed the stones in the Archaeology Department, the fourth looked for silver coins in the halls of the Hermitage.
Day 2 (29th of March, 2017)
On the second day we switched roles. Yulia and I worked in the cloakroom, it was an interesting experience: tens, hundreds and thousands of foreigners passed us, of different ages and nationalities, an infinite number of their voices merged into one unintelligible roar.
The pupils working in the other departments shared their impressions: Ana liked to work in the silent archaeological hall, Katya and Nastya learned that there was a huge variety of silver coins during the reign of Peter the Great, whilst Artem and Zahar noted the size of the library.
Day 3 (30th of March, 2017)
On the third (and last) day we performed scenes from the play of Pierre de Marivaux «The Game of Love and Chance». This scene was written together with Galina Arkadyevna, our leader and part-time teacher of Russian language and literature. The scene talks about funny situations which occur as a result of two young people who, unbeknownst to one other, agree to swap clothes with her servants. Diana played the role of Sylvia, Maria Churakova played Lisette, and Zach was briefly reincarnated as Mr. Dorante. Despite not having much time to prepare, the guys did well. The audience consisted of the museum staff as well as overseas visitors all of whom praised the play.
Overall, volunteering has not only provided us with a positive impression, but also an unforgettable experience to us in this new activity; we met some great people and gave them a piece of our country in the form of gifts of foreign volunteers. Michael and his team also gave us some memorable gifts, which was unexpected but very nice. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this huge family of volunteers.
We wish all and every success to the Hermitage staff and its volunteers!
Written by Maria Babintseva, Russia.