A month with the National and International Partnerships department

A month-long museum work placement seems like a long time, but how time flies when you are having fun and learning so much!

As a part of my MLitt degree in Museum Studies, I was required to complete a twenty-day museum work placement. I was lucky enough to complete my placement at National Museums Scotland, working with the National & International Partnerships department.

Students from the University of Aberdeen on work placement at National Museums Scotland.

A few main highlights for me during my placement were attending an archaeological training workshop, learning about the National Fund for Acquisitions application process, creating maps and databases, and helping with the Next of Kin project handling collection learning resources.

The archaeological training workshop, Introduction to Prehistoric Collections in Scotland, was the second in a series of five archaeology training workshops offered by National Museums Scotland as part of the National Training Programme. This workshop was designed to help museum professionals expand their knowledge on how to care for, store, display and work with their prehistoric collections.

Introduction to Prehistoric Collections in Scotland
Attending the Introduction to Prehistoric Collections in Scotland training course.

I learned about the National Fund for Acquisitions (NFA) and how the department processes this. The NFA is a Scottish Government fund, managed by National Museums Scotland to help museums, galleries, libraries, and archives with funding to acquire objects pertaining to any of the following subject areas: art and literature, history and natural science, technology and industry, and medicine.

Throughout my placement within the department, I created and updated a number of databases, a task which I found to be a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be! This will help the department with their research into the Scottish museum sector. I also created two Google maps that represent NFA Grants Paid and participants of the National Training Programme in 2016-2017. These maps, amongst others, show the breadth of the organisation’s national working and will soon be available on the website.

Trench Art Airplane
Trench Art Airplane.

Last but not least, one of the highlights of my placement was being able to help out with the Next of Kin object handling collection learning resources. Next of Kin was an exhibition based at the National War Museum which also toured to nine different museums throughout Scotland. The exhibition looked at personal stories of local residents who had fought in World War I. I helped out with these handling collections by completing various tasks, mainly creating inventories of the collections. These collections will create learning resources for seven of the project partners.

These last four weeks have just flown by and I honestly cannot believe it’s time for me to complete my placement. I have learned so much during my time with the National & International Partnerships Department and have all of them to thank for teaching me about working in their department and about working within a museum. Many thanks for everything you all have taught me and thank you for hosting me during my placement!

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