Jon Pinnington – Tour Guide

What I do
My first role as a Museum volunteer was as an Explainer in Fun ‘n’ Flight, helping both children and adults not only to engage with the interactive exhibits – i.e. have fun! – but also to gain a better understanding of the principles of flight.

I have since also become a tour guide. My role is to take visitors around the Museum, telling them about the objects in our collection and the stories behind them. Although there is so much to see it is sometimes difficult to decide what to talk about and how long to spend on each item! But I try to tailor it to the interests of each group.

The Museum hosts several “Open Cockpits” events each year, during which my role is to help visitors get into and out of selected aircraft safely and also to give them an insight into the experiences of aircrew operating these machines. The Cold War hangar has the cockpit sections of a Hunter and a Phantom, which are also open on selected days and for which the volunteer role is very similar.

What I love
I enjoy making use of my knowledge and enthusiasm so people can get more out of their day at the Museum. It is inevitable that the displays in the museum focus on the aircraft and ancillary equipment of the RAF and it means a lot to me to be able to tell many of the human stories behind the exhibits.

What I get
It is very rewarding to experience all the positive reactions from members of the public as they explore the Museum. Children in particular show unbounded enthusiasm and you know that you have made a worthwhile contribution to the enjoyment of their day out – and helped with their learning as well.

Plus there is flexibility in my volunteering, and I don’t have to commit to a particular day or a certain number of hours. I can choose which activities I sign myself up for.