By Kerry Milton, on 1 September 2014
UCL has opened its doors to museum professionals from around the world through a new Museum Training School (MTS) – an innovative CPD programme developed in partnership with the British Council Global Skills Unit.
Participants from over 16 countries attended, selected from more than 450 applications.
100 cultural institutions and museums provided speakers, expertise and visits during the four weeks of the summer school, the programme made up of four courses each exploring the major facets of museum working:
- How to build local, national and international partnerships
- How to develop exhibitions
- How to develop schools and learning programmes
- How to develop community engagement programmes
Each course followed a project-based model of learning. Students in the ‘How to develop exhibitions’ course, for example, had the opportunity to handle authentic objects from the world renowned Petrie Museum Collection, then immediately apply this knowledge to a contemporary art exhibition which they curated at the end of the week.
In the ‘How to develop community engagement programmes’ course, participants created innovative projects to improve museum practice in their host institutions and countries.
How to build local, national and international partnerships course
At the end of their course, each participant presented partnership proposals to develop their museum’s practices. The Director of the National Museum Bangkok presented an innovative idea of getting staff training from a local airline to develop his staff’s customer service and people skills, essential for any museum.
How to develop exhibitions course
Participants on the Exhibitions course learned about the ground skills of exhibition work, from object handling to airport couriering. At the end of the week curatorial teams displayed a mini exhibition using the British Council’s contemporary art collection. The objects ranged from Hirst to Nicholson, but Shrigley’s headless ostrich proved a bit too tricky!
How to develop schools and learning programmes course
Working with experts at the Museum of Childhood, the participants produced educational games for children based on the displays and materials in the museum. The international cohort provided a mixed discussion on teaching methods and experienced practical examples of museum education for them to analyse.
How to develop community engagement programmes course
Participants for this course experienced community engagement programmes in local authority museums, national institutions and even outdoors. This broad range of experiences led our participants to produce community engagement action points ranging from corporate access events (Philippines) to an Arts farmers’ market (China).
The Museum Training School was a huge success, with 80 people already registering interest in next year’s course.
A participant from China commented, “The highlight of the course was to meet with so many museum professionals. I learned new skills and met people only possible through this course.”
For any enquiries or comments on the Museum Training School, please email Edmund Connolly, Finance and Course Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org