RNLI Museum Volunteer Gwyn Jackson

Gwyn Jackson is a volunteer at the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh, Northumberland. Using her skills as a former teacher, Gwyn brings the museum collections to life for young visitors. Her favourite object shows a different side to one of our greatest heroines.
RNLI Museum Volunteer Gywn Jackson

Photo: Adrian Don - ElectricPics Photography

RNLI Museum Volunteer Gywn Jackson
A real highlight was meeting two visitors descended from the crew Grace and her father saved.

How did you get started?

I helped fundraise for the Grace Darling Museum before it was built and I’ve been a volunteer at the museum since 2008. I’m old enough to remember being inspired by names like Darling, Nightingale and Browning, and now I enjoy educating children. Here, they’re usually aged 7–11 and come to learn about the Victorians.

What is your favourite object at the museum?

I love one exhibit in particular – a dress that belonged to both Grace and her sister. It has two sets of fastenings, so either of them could wear it (I guess there weren’t many opportunities for them to go out). I like how it’s pink, girly and tiny – a bit frivolous; not too serious and sensible like the rest of her life. Women who lived by the sea in the Victorian era often had to work hard. It was mainly women who pulled the lifeboats to launch. I like to think that sometimes Grace would have worn the dress and had a nice time.

The RNLI Grace Darling Museum attracts people from all over the world. Have you met anyone unusual?

I’ve met Prince Charles, who was keen to watch the Grace Darling video, and I’ve had lunch with the Duke of Kent. I told him about Queen Victoria sending money to Grace and about another gift that Grace was sent – the very latest in waterproof clothing: a mackintosh.

What’s been your best moment so far?

A real highlight of my time here was meeting two visitors descended from the crew Grace and her father saved. They wouldn’t have existed if the rescue had ended differently.