Volunteers’ Week: Meet our new visitor experience and volunteer coordinator Ariane

To mark Volunteers’ Week (1–7 June), we meet Ariane Dean, our new Visitor Experience and Volunteer Coordinator, to talk all things volunteering.

Ariane Dean, our Visitor Experience and Volunteer Coordinator

How did you get into this role?

I’d been aware of Chiswick House & Gardens for a long time, having first come across it during my MA in Country Houses. Prior to moving to London, I was the Office Coordinator at Victoria Baths up in Manchester, where I had the pleasure of working with volunteers during many events and open days. I have also been a volunteer myself on and off over the years, at the National Trust’s Lyme Park and Plas Newydd, and at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. This gave me a real appreciation for what volunteers can bring to historic buildings, and how they can enhance a visitor’s experience. It is such a joy to work first hand with a volunteer team who are so passionate and enthusiastic about the place they support!

Give us a flavour of your work at Chiswick House & Gardens so far

Busy! As my role is split between volunteering and visitor experience, I spend part of my week in the House, and part in the office. I’ve been able to run a couple of tour guide training sessions, which have been really good fun. I’ve learned an awful lot about the history of the estate and its various inhabitants from our incredible guides.

Which future project are you most looking forward to?

Grow FM: I’m really looking forward to our trainee producers getting to know the grounds and sharing their findings with a wider audience. Experiencing {Paradise in The Sun}, our new Kitchen Garden audio experience, has been really energising. We have such an engaged community here in Chiswick, and this is a wonderful way to keep connecting the dots and bringing people together.

What has been your highlight of working at Chiswick so far?

Spending time in the gardens with our Goosefoot and Kitchen Garden volunteers. I’ve tried to make time where I can to get out and do some gardening alongside the volunteers, who have been so welcoming. Getting my hands in the soil and planting new things has been lovely, especially after going through the last few years without a garden. I’ve been guilty in the past of underestimating how fulfilling gardening can be, so I’m very grateful to our garden team for inviting me along!

We are currently looking to recruit new volunteers for our House. If you are interested in working alongside Ariane and discovering the rich history of Chiswick House, sign up here.