Ray Thompson, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s Honorary Curator of Numismatics and Philatelics, knows more about coins and stamps than most, and even more about the value of volunteer service.
“I always knew I would fill a voluntary position when I retired” said 83-year-old Ray.
“I wanted to invest my time in a role that would benefit the people of Tasmania in a lasting way.”
Commencing as a curatorial assistant in 1989, Ray volunteered one day a week during the first 10 years of his service to TMAG and since 1999 has volunteered two days each week.
During his 23 years of continuous voluntary work, Ray has given more than 12,900 hours - an equally impressive record as the enormous number of objects he has catalogued during this time.
Ray recently reached a remarkable milestone, lodging his 40,000th entry in the Museum’s Medal, Coin, Badge, Militaria and Stamp database.
Ray considers the cataloguing of item 39,967 - a rare, 1838 gold Tasmanian Juvenile Industrial Exhibition Medal he had long sought for inclusion in the State Collection - to be a recent highlight of his work.
Ray was quick to answer when asked why he has persisted with his voluntary work for so long.
“I always thought I knew a lot about medals and money but it turns out, I actually knew very little” he joked.
“I found after starting at TMAG, the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn and that I still do.”
Many at TMAG consider Ray a shining example of true community service through volunteerism.
“I congratulate Ray on his recent registration milestone and thank him for his stewardship of TMAG’s Numismatics and Philatelics collections” said TMAG Director Bill Bleathman.
“Ray is one of approximately 100 volunteers who give back to their community by volunteering time at the Museum and, through his dedication, he is an inspiration to us all.”
Image: Ray Thompson holding the prized 1838 gold Tasmanian Juvenile Industrial Exhibition Medal