Summing up the volunteers camps

In Autumn 2015 The National Institute of Heritage initiated a competition for financing the volunteer activities for the historic heritage. We wrote the application entry, gathered the vital documentation – we applied to the competition in December 2015. We had to wait till Spring to learn about the positive results, yet it was no sooner than in June when we signed the financing agreement. Full of concerns about possible success or failure of the project, we started preparing the main part of it, namely – the Volunteers Camp. Due to the lack of full-time employees we had to split the event into weekend camps. We started the enrolment and impatiently waited for the first applications. To our great surprise, there were more applications than we expected.


Due to the specific functioning of Skierniewice Shed, which do not have any full-time employees, initially we decided to divide the Volunteers Camp into 3 parts (total of 10 days) taking part from June to October. We decided to offer the participant with overnight stay in the social area of the Shed.

The beginning of the camp was slightly delayed due to the longer than expected approval procedure and later end of the competition organized by the Heritage Board.


Except the three parts of the camp with open enrolment, we organized one extra part addressed to the most experienced participants of earlier camps who were already familiar with the facility and could help in such events like open days:

  • 1st part – from 5th to 8th August (14 participants),
  • 2nd part – from 19th to 22nd August (14 participants),
  • 3rd part – from 9th to 11th September (12 participants),
  • 4th part – from 17th to 18th September (6 participants).


Before starting the camp, we had to replenish the workshop equipment – buy new tools (including new compressor), personal protective clothing as well as the stock of painting and woodworking material. We also decided to organize a Health and Safety training with practical exercises. We also could not forget to provide the participants with insurance, hot meals and drinks.

Possibly the most attractive part of the camp was help in renovation of the listed steam engine class Ol49-4. During the first part of the camp, volunteers helped in cleaning the vehicle from old paint and rust. They were also responsible for preparing the smaller parts fro final painting and assembly. Participants of second and third part of the camp were engaged in the renovation work of the engine in a smaller scale. Still during that time the work required to clean-up the interior of the chassis and assembly of the steam dome cover was accomplished.

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Another important area of volunteers activity was the upkeep of Shed surroundings, including clean-up of roundhouse interior. They also provided invaluable help in forever-postponed works that were not yet completed due to lack of time, but which critically influence the general look of the facility – painting of the fences and gates. If the weather was against us, we moved the work to interiors or shaded areas, so volunteers could help in other ongoing activities in the Shed e.g. repair of the turntable drive, construction of the new exhibitions (mainly those regarding railway telecommunication) or repair of windows. The only upkeep activity that was not completed due to the scorching August heat was the cutting down the ever present self-sown bushes. Instead a couple of previously neglected areas in more shaded place were tended.

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Volunteers also had the possibility to take part in the organization of the events in the Shed. Any camp participant could become the guide helper, taking care of the visiting groups safety during the Open Days, Photo-days and other extraordinary events. A couple of participants with good theoretical knowledge and after brief training was able to successfully play the role of guides at the railway signalling exhibition.


Whenever possible, we provided additional attractions to the participants of the camp. During the evening cultural programme, they could take part in the screening of old railway educational films. On another occasion volunteers could participate in the lecture about railway museums abroad, with the accent on Czech facilities, which due to the border and cultural proximity, stands for the best comparison with our activities.


The last part of the camps was completing the sightseeing route “Past and Present of Engine Shed Skierniewice”, which allows the visitors to familiarize with our facility without the help of the guide. Signposts directing to various points of interest have been erected in critical locations and the exhibits placed outside the roundhouse gained new description plates. The preparation of the sightseeing route was mainly coordinated by one person with proper knowledge about graphical software, still volunteers provided help in editing and correction of exhibits descriptions and then in assembly of signposts.

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Summing up the camp in numbers

Item Count
according to the applications accomplished
Count of organized camps 1 1
Count of participants 20 46
Count of organizers/carers 3 6
Count of organized events 2 5
Count of prepared sightseeing routes 1 1
Count of visitors 1000 2500
Count of listed exhibits involved in volunteers actions 2 2

Project was sponsored by:


as a part of the programme:


Media patronage:

Głos Skierniewic nm dl its Stalowe Szlaki rsc_nowe

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