Elsa Court, Great Britain
I found out about the Volunteer Service through a friend who had participated in the Manifesta 10, though I didn’t have any idea what to expect when I arrived. From the first day, I experienced the Hermitage’s work from behind the scenes, doing all sorts of work – from preparing a fashion exhibition from renowned designer Slava Zaitsev, to proofreading letters and corresponding with prospective interns. Every day brought something new, as well as giving me the best opportunity to improve my Russian. The whole team was really friendly and I met people from all over the world of all ages, under the leadership of Mikhail and Vera. Thanks to them, were all full of tea and biscuits every day. In short, it was an unforgettable experience, and I’d love to come again in the future.
Miles Harrison, USA, 2015 (video in Russian)
Lidvine Thiétart, France
Faire partie du service des volontaires de l’Ermitage est une merveilleuse opportunité de découvrir le musée comme peu de personnes ont la chance de le faire. Participer à l’organisation d’évènements tels que la Nuit des Musées, aider à l’ouverture de nouvelles expositions telles que celle consacrée au styliste russe Slava Zaitsev, se voir confier quelques tâches au département d’archéologie etc. Toutes ces activités permettent de s’imprégner de l’ambiance du musée de l’Ermitage, d’en découvrir les rouages et rien que de pouvoir participer à cela est une chance exceptionnelle.
De plus, être volontaire au musée de l’Ermitage, c’est également évoluer dans une certaine convivialité, c’est à la fois rencontrer des personnes venant du monde entier, avoir l’occasion de parler russe, anglais, français, italien et j’en passe ! Mais aussi d’avoir l’opportunité de travailler avec une équipe russe et de découvrir la Russie autrement qu’en tant que simple étudiant ou touriste.
Devenir volontaire, c’est aussi participer au fonctionnement de la plus grande institution culturelle de Russie et l’une des plus importantes du monde.
Je garderai un souvenir toujours ému de cette expérience au sein du service des volontaires, ces deux mois passés en tant que stagiaire resteront parmi les meilleurs moments de mon séjour à Saint-Pétersbourg !
Anna Scandolin, Italy, 2015 (video in English)
Arthur Antille, France
I spent 3 months at Hermitage Volunteer Service, and it was such a great experience! First of all, I liked the various tasks that you can be asked to do! At the beginning of your workday, you just don’t know what you’re going to do! Need support at the entrance of the museum? Here I come! Somebody has to take pictures of children drawing Greek masterpieces at Hermitage? Yes, I’m ready! Need some help at the Archaeological department to sort fragments of Antique vases? I came in for this! With all those little jobs you do there, your workdays are everything but boring or repetitive! In parallel, the Volunteer Service is also involved in events, and in this part we volunteers are very important. Indeed, here we have the opportunity to work on something we really like! Basically, you can lead a project, supported by the other volunteers and the Volunteers Service staff, who give you the most they can so you can achieve your goal. When I was there, I had to find songs of the Ancient Greece, as there was an event related to Palmyra and Ancient Greece. I also had to present various ancient instruments, showing them depicted on Greek vases visible at the Hermitage, for example. It was really interesting to do these researches, even more in this huge treasure trove at the Hermitage… I would recommend the Hermitage Volunteers Service to everyone who is interested in art, likes working in groups and wants to leads projects!
Simona Pozzoli, Italy, 2015 (video in English)
Joanne Hughes, France
Hi, my name is Joanne, I’m 18 years old and currently studying Political Science in Nancy, France. I aim to pursue a master in art history after my bachelor’s degree, which is why I chose to apply to become a volunteer at the Hermitage Museum. I worked as a volunteer for a month, from June 14th to July 13th, 2016, and I learned a lot in my time there. My goal was both to improve my Russian language skills, which I had only been learning for a year, as well as to gain some invaluable experience about the way a museum works. I was satisfied on both counts, and I could only recommend such a volunteership to anyone with the same motivations as mine.
Although I could speak very little Russian and I came to Saint Petersburg on my own, I found the other volunteers as well as our supervisors very kind and helpful, for example concerning how to get around the city and deal with the practical aspects of life there. During my stay, I was mainly involved in helping to initiate projects and activities which the museum would present at various events and festivals throughout the year, such as when I participated in the creation of a treasure hunt where visitors would be able to link some of the Hermitage’s works of art with well-known European films. I was also responsible for creating a quiz allowing the public to discover more classic films of each of the European Union member states, and on a more daily basis I helped with other tasks such as translating parts of the volunteer service’s website into French and being present at the museum entrances to check visitor’s tickets.
Among the high points of my time as a volunteer was the discovery of the Hermitage’s delocalised storage facility a little further away from the city centre, which houses the many objects which cannot be displayed in the Hermitage proper, either for lack of space or conservation reasons, and of which some parts have recently been opened to the public. Also on my list is the evening of the annual Hermitage gala, where as volunteers we were involved in guiding guests through the museum’s halls to view particular exhibitions (also we were able to sample some of the leftover champagne at the end of the night…).
The great part about being a volunteer at the Hermitage is that you have the time and the opportunity to discover the museum itself and to enjoy its unique and wonderful collections, both during and apart from your duties as a volunteer. The month I spent in Saint Petersburg was for me a perfect immersion into Russian history and culture, as I was able to complement my exploration of the Hermitage with lengthy visits of the city as well as excursions to the suburbs. All in all, volunteering at the Hermitage struck for me the perfect balance between acquiring useful professional experience, both individually and in teamwork, and allowing me to broaden my cultural horizon in a very enjoyable way.
Diana Sidaras, Germany, 2015 (video in Russian)
Florine Menoud, France
J’ai effectué un stage de trois mois au musée de l’Ermitage dans le cadre de mes études de tourisme. Difficile de résumer cette expérience enrichissante en seulement quelques lignes. J’ai eu la chance de participer à l’élaboration de plusieurs évènements comme le Gala de l’Ermitage ou La nuit des musées, ce qui fut très intéressant et vraiment exceptionnel. Les tâches au sein du des volontaires sont variées étant donné que nous venons en aide à tous les services du musée, c’est pourquoi la polyvalence et la volontée sont de mises dans ce lieu de travail incroyable. L’ambiance dans le service des volontaires est très amicale et j’y ai fait de superbes rencontres.
Sabina Jardim, Great Britain, 2015 (video in English)
Vincent Maisonobe, France
My internship at the Hermitage museum was a very interesting experience. Indeed, it was very different from what I`m used to, but very rewarding. We were asked to participate to many different tasks, from organizing an exhibition to translating documents in several languages, and even take place in a gala.
We also could manage our timetable the way we wanted, which is very convenient to visit the city.
Rafi Hay, Great Britain, 2015 (video in English)
Manon Pegny, France
Very good experience!
It was a good way to learn more about russian culture and russian language. The team is very welcoming! I met very interesting people from all around the world. I saw wonderful things and now I know more about the museum, his collections, etc. All The projects were very interesting so it was a real pleasure to help and to spend two months in this beautiful place! I will remember my internship at the volunteer service for a long Time!
Evgeniya Grigoryeva, Ukraine, 2015 (video in Russian)
Louis ROBY, France
Le service des volontaires est un endroit extraordiaire. J’y ai passé 10 semaines incroyables encadré par une équipe tres symptahique.
Vous aurez l’occasion de rencontrer des personnes de toutes les nationalités et ainsi partager les tâches que l’on vous assigne. J’ai eu la chance de participer à la préparation de l’exposition de célèbre Zlava Zateiv ou encore au fameux Gala de l’Ermitage.
Être volontaires à l’Ermitage, c’est arriver en ayant une personnalité autonome, débordant d’imagination car on sollicetera souvent votre avis pour les projets en cours et à venir. Mais il est important d’avoir également son projet personnel en rapport avec le musée comme un rapport ou autre car le niveau de travail est très variable dans le service et il est possible que certains jours il y ai peu de travail. D’où l’importance d’avoir son projet personnel ou sinon passer son temps dans ce “petit” musée à se perdre parmi les peintures de Matisse, Renoir où encore se découvrir la momie du musée !
Ainsi si vous voulez être dépaysés, je vous invite à vous lancer dans cette merveilleuse expérience.
Anna Ivanishchevaya, Canary Islands, 2015 (video in Russian)
John Sipp, USA
My time at the Hermitage Volunteer Service gave me an inside look at the workings of one of the world’s most famous museums. Working among a diverse assortment of international volunteers, we helped facilitate the museum’s world-class projects, whether by assembling the exhibits themselves, by planning events, or even by simply welcoming experts from accross the world to the museum. I would recommend volunteering to anyone interested in any amount of time. It will bring a whole new perspective to the wonders of the Hermitage!
Ottavia Berati, Italy
I have started my experience in Hermitage Volunteers in October 2015. At the beginning I was quite scared and a little bit shocked for the dimensions and magnificence of one of the biggest and most famous museum in the world. I was also really curious and interested on learning how different departments of a museum work.
With the Volunteer Service you really have the opportunity to explore and learn lots of different things. I think this one has been the most important thing to me; Volunteers have to be Multitasking in order to be ready on doing lots of strange and different things. They have always to help with different projects always amazing such are exhibitions, Gala events and things like these. I have been involved especially in the project about the £D reconstruction of Palmyra; the old Syrian city destroyed by Isis. This one was for me the chance to learn a lot about archaeology and culture from another country.
Another key-word for me has also been Multiculturalism in fact everyday inside the office new people arrives and is always a pleasure to meet new one, to talk about studies and plans for future. I met new friends from all over the world and I am so happy for this.
This experience has meant so much to me; I recommend it to anyone who wants to live a good cultural experience inside such an amazing place as Hermitage is!
Elena Stojkova, Switzerland
I loved working in the Hermitage museum, for me the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It’s not just the art there; it’s also the palace itself, the atmosphere, the tourists from all over the world. Many volunteers are working there and I made wonderful acquaintances and friends. It’s not a particular or monotone type of work. You can make different and interesting experiences that you never expected to sample in a museum.
Mathieu Binder, Luxembourg
Die Möglichkeit in der Eremitage zu arbeiten war mir eine große Ehre. Ich habe diese Zeit sehr genossen und empfehle solch eine Erfahrung sehr. Ich habe während meines Aufenthaltes vieles über Russland und dessen Kultur gelernt und werde gewiss wieder in dieses Prächtige Land einreisen. Falls ihr während eures Freiwilligendienstes etwas Freizeit habt, empfehle ich den Besuch der Naheliegenden Denkmäler und Monumenten. Der Eintritt in die Eremitage ist natürlich Kostenfrei und zu jeder Zeit verfügbar. Viel Spaß!