Museum Volunteering: Heritage as 'Serious Leisure'
Orr, N. (2006) Museum Volunteering: Heritage as 'Serious Leisure' International Journal or Heritage Studies, 12 (2). pp. 194-210. ISSN 1470-3610
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13527250500496169
The growing number of volunteers in the heritage sector indicates a desire for a leisure experience by pursuing a subject interest with like-minded people. Millar and others have suggested that volunteers are the `ultimate frequent visitors', and as the day visitor market for museums and heritage attractions declines, this paper offers the repositioning of `heritage visiting' from day visits to longer term connections with particular heritage attractions via volunteering. It draws on Stebbins's concept of serious leisure as a way of reading museum volunteering as a leisure practice and argues that museum volunteering is a way of practising heritage as leisure that is `self-generated', with museum volunteers active in constructing their own identities. According to the concept of `serious leisure', museum volunteers become part of a social world inhabited by those knowledgeable about heritage and history. The paper concludes by examining the adequacy of Stebbins's P-A-P system for analysing the power relations between museum professionals and volunteers in the museum social world.
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