Reaching out: the National Training Programme

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As National & International Partnerships Officer at National Museums Scotland, my role involves supporting the National Training Programme and facilitating good communications with the Scottish museums sector.

We recently launched our Twitter account @NMSPartnerships where we promote our work across Scotland, including the National Training Programme, the National Fund for Acquisitions, loans, touring exhibitions, outreach and our Ancient Egypt and East Asia National Programme. Through networking and building relationships in the sector, we develop activities which we hope will benefit museums across Scotland.

The National Training Programme is a series of informal workshops where staff from National Museums Scotland deliver expert advice to colleagues in the Scottish museums sector. In partnership with Arts Council England we ran workshops on the UK Government Indemnity Scheme (GIS) at the National Museum of Scotland and Inverness Museum & Art Gallery on 12 and 13 June. Course leaders included Carol Warner, Manager of the Government Indemnity Scheme, William Brown, National Security Advisor, and members of National Museums Scotland’s Collections Services Department.

GIS offers an alternative to the cost of commercial insurance, providing cost-free indemnity cover to borrowing institutions for loss or damage to objects on short or long term loan – in simple terms a way for museums to borrow objects without expensive insurance costs. To qualify for GIS, borrowing venues must meet the security and environmental standards set out in the scheme. When these standards are achieved GIS will cover objects during transit to and from the borrowing venue, storage, installation, display and dismantling – what is referred to as ‘nail to nail’. GIS also enables museums to borrow from national institutions. You can find out about borrowing a loan or touring exhibition from National Museums Scotland here.

Seventeen people from museums across Scotland joined us for the workshop in Edinburgh. The day began with a presentation from Carol on what the Government Indemnity Scheme is, how museums can benefit from the scheme and the application process. GIS can sound complex and daunting, but Carol took her time to explain the scheme and encouraged people to apply. William then spoke about the security requirements set out in the scheme and how to meet these.

After lunch (which we all know is the most important part of any training workshop!) our Preventive Conservator Katie Haworth spoke to the group about environmental conditions required to meet GIS. We visited the Art, Design and Fashion galleries to look at display cases and environmental controls, and what has been implemented to minimise damage to objects. The workshop closed with a Q&A session with all of the course leaders, which was a great way to sum up the day.

After the workshop finished at 4pm, we all jumped on a train to Inverness to run the workshop again the next day at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, where we were joined by eight participants from High Life Highland and Gairloch Heritage Museum. One of my favourite things about my job is getting out and about, meeting colleagues from across Scotland, visiting their museums and enjoying the beautiful scenery on the way!

Throughout the two days I tweeted about the workshops and encouraged participants to get involved too. We are always interested in hearing from colleagues across Scotland so give us a follow, and if you have any suggestions for future training workshops let us know!

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