A different kind of marketplace: Knowledge Exchange Training

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As the National and International Partnerships Department begins to plan our National Training Programme for 2016/2017, I thought it would be useful to look back at the previous workshops we have run. It’s especially helpful to read the feedback we received.

Our Training Programme is a series of informal workshops where staff from National Museums Scotland deliver expert advice to colleagues in the Scottish museums sector. No workshop is the same and we are always keen to think of new ways to make them useful for participants.

In June we ran two new-style workshops over two consecutive days as part of the Museums Galleries Scotland Heritage Horizons Traineeship Programme (a project funded by Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future).

These two days saw 22 staff from National Museums Scotland, the Treasure Trove Unit and Edinburgh Museums & Galleries share expert advice.

The first day covered collections topics such as documentation, loans, object packing, object numbering, Treasure Trove, the National Fund for Acquisitions, pest management and collections management systems. The second day focused on learning and programmes topics and working with various audiences, including under five-year-olds, families, community groups, schools and adults.

The trainees learned about these various topics through a series of presentations and a new format for us, the marketplace. As you can see by the images, the trainees had the opportunity to liaise with colleagues and learn about their work in an informal setting.

Curator Nicola Taylor discusses her work
Curator Nicola Taylor discusses her work.
Workshop discussions
Workshop discussions.
Collections Information Assistant Katherine Mercer advises on packing objects
Collections Information Assistant Katherine Mercer advises on packing objects.


The Learning and Programmes team demonstrate the Magic Carpet
Jane Miller and Sueve Mariner from the Community Engagement team in the Discovery Tent, which helps young children explore museum objects.
The Learning and Programmes team demonstrate the popular Magic Carpet activity families
The Learning and Programmes team demonstrate our popular Magic Carpet activity for families.

Some of the comments we received over the two days were:

‘It was extremely well presented and the format was perfect’

‘I feel able to advance on basic ideas for future workshops for schools with the information I have learned’

‘Friendly, helpful and approachable staff’

‘Fantastic, and much appreciated that these opportunities exist to expand and supplement existing knowledge. Great way to meet new people too’

I think what made these training days a success was the number of people who were willing to get involved and enthusiastically share their knowledge with the trainees. This meant that we could cover a wide range of subjects to give an insight into the different aspects of working in a museum. The combination of enthusiastic staff and trainees who were eager to learn resulted in a high energy and enjoyable learning environment.

At this point I’d like to add in a huge thank you to the staff and participants for creating such vibrant workshops. I think we were all reminded what a great sector it is we have the privilege of working in!

You can find out more about our National Training Programme and upcoming workshops at www.nms.ac.uk/training

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