Volunteering at LHSA

LHSA runs an active volunteer programme, offering valuable experience for prospective archive students and conservation students and engaging projects for those with an interest in working in the archive sector.

Learning archive skills

For anyone considering a career in archives, it is vital to gain first-hand experience within an archive, and a placement or internship is a prerequisite for gaining a place on most postgraduate courses in Archive Management.  LHSA is pleased to offer cataloguing experience on a voluntary basis to those wishing to pursue a career in this field, and has a proud record of success, with many past volunteers securing places on postgraduate courses.

Volunteers are trained to catalogue to relevant standards, working on discrete and existing collections of material from sorting and box-listing right through to a final catalogue which will be made available on the LHSA website.  There will also be an opportunity to learn handling and preservation packaging skills.

One day placements

LHSA receives a high number of requests for archive volunteer placements and in order to accommodate as many people as possible, a one day placement may be offered in the first instance to introduce volunteers to best practice handling, cataloguing and enquiries research skills.

Learning conservation skills

LHSA also offers the opportunity to gain experience within the field of paper conservation, and the work undertaken within our volunteer programme can be used to produce a portfolio for interview at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Training will be given in basic interventive conservation treatments including surface cleaning, repair and re-housing, followed by practical application of these skills on a discrete collection under the supervision of the LHSA Paper Conservator.  Wherever possible the cataloguing work of the archive volunteers is aligned with that of volunteers in conservation to develop a holistic approach to collection management.

Those more interested in preventive conservation can also be accommodated within LHSA's comprehensive collection care programme.


LHSA provided two, full time, 10-week internships from January to March 2013 to develop archive and conservation skills. These were very successful, and we were delighted to offer three further internships for October to December 2013. 2014 began with an internship dedicated to providing experience of cataloguing case notes and we offered a 10-week internship specifically designed to give a newly-qualified archivist the opportunity to develop skills invaluable in the project environment from June 2014. We are now offering a further internship to develop case note cataloguing skills for 10 weeks from April 2015. For more information please click here.

Applying for a volunteer position

If you'd like to apply for a volunteer position, please contact the Student Engagement Officer in the Centre for Research Collections.  All applications are processed by the Student Support Officer, who will respond to discuss any available opportunities. If there are no positions available at LHSA, the Student Support Officer may be able to offer a volunteer position within another part of the Centre for Research Collections.

Further information about volunteering in the archive sector

List of Archive Postgraduate Courses accredited by the Archives & Records Association

List of placement opportunities available in the UK and Ireland


Fiona making a four-flap folder Lynne cataloguing architectural plans Mariko making a condiition assessment