Volunteers provide invaluable support for the Argyll Papers, the archivist and for researchers wishing to use the archive. 

There are often opportunities to volunteer in person in the archive cleaning and re-packaging documents, sorting and listing them or creating digital images. It is also possible to volunteer remotely – creating a transcript of a document from a digital image.  You don’t always need any specialist skills or experience; interest, enthusiasm and attention to detail go a long way and we can always provide specific training. If you do have particular skills or expertise, however, please let us know and we will try make use of them.   

We also need volunteers to support the administration of the Friends, in particular social media and website experts, fund-raisers and administrative expertise.

If you are interested in volunteering please let us know when you complete your Membership Form. As the archive has limited space, you may not be able to begin in-person or remote volunteering straight away, but we will add your name to the waiting list and involve you as soon as possible.

Volunteers also benefit from a discount in the Castle tea-shop and shop, and enjoy a free family visit to the Castle each season as well as invitations to any special events organised by the Friends.  As a volunteering Friend, you will also have direct access to the archives or images of it, will be offered relevant training and support from the archivist, and will be joining a friendly and mutually supportive team. Most importantly, you will know that you are making a positive contribution to the development of the archive.

We need volunteers for:

  • Collection care (cleaning, re-packaging, etc)
  • Cataloguing
  • Transcribing
  • Research
  • Publicity and promotion including social media
  • Photography/Digitisation
  • Oral history research
  • Fundraising and administration

If you have any questions about volunteering with the Argyll Papers, please do not hesitate to email archives@inveraray-castle.com 

Current Projects

There are a number of interesting group projects in progress. If you would like to participate in any of these projects, please email the Argyll Papers archivist.

The Dewar Project
This is a collaborative project (using world-wide volunteers) aimed at transcribing, translating, editing and publishing the Dewar Manuscripts. The Dewar Manuscripts are a set of ten volumes (seven at Inveraray Castle and three in the National Library of Scotland) containing Gaelic tales and poems collected by John Dewar. Dewar was commissioned by the 8th duke of Argyll to travel through Argyllshire, Arran, West Dunbartonshire, West Perthshire and Lochaber, writing down the oral history of those districts. The Dewar Manuscripts contain about 5,000 pages of Gaelic historical tales ranging from Robert Bruce’s battles and wanderings (1306) to the Appin Murder (1752). Volunteers (with or without Gaelic) can assist with transcribing the Gaelic text.

Tiree Transcriptions
There is an ongoing project to transcribe 18th and 19th century records of particular relevance to the history of Tiree. Volunteers in this project work remotely, transcribing from images. Attention to detail and the ability to use a computer are essential for this project. Experience of reading 18th and 19th century handwriting is desirable, although training can be given.  A knowledge of Tiree names and places is helpful but not essential.

The Bailiary Court Books project
A team of volunteers is working to transcribe two court books from the early 18th century. The transcribed books will eventually be published  with an introduction by Professor Allan Macinnes. An ability to read secretary hand is essential for this project, as is attention to detail and the ability to use a computer.

The MacLean Project
The Dewar Manuscripts were translated in the late 19th century by an Islay school master called Hector MacLean, and a group of volunteers are transcribing MacLean’s translations of the stories.  We hope to eventually publish individual illustrated stories on our blog. Attention to detail and the ability to use a computer are essential to participate in this project.

Cleaning and re-packaging maps and plans

During the Written in the Landscape project, a group of local volunteers were taught to clean and repackage maps and plans in the Argyll Papers collection. There are still many maps and plans in need of cleaning and repackaging and we hope that this work will continue in the years ahead. Training can be provided for any new volunteers wishing to join the team.

Friends of the Argyll Papers is a Scottish Charity SC045835