Some of the Inside Museums participants exploring Nail Theory.
Networking on Steroids – Fraser Hale
‘Join the “Inside Museums” training course’, they said. ‘Come and learn more about why, what, and how museums are, they said. What they could have added was ‘by the way you’ll meet a dozen new, highly engaged, inquisitive and intelligent people who will gladly share their experiences, perspectives and insights with you while you learn together.’ Who wouldn’t want to do that?!
‘Inside Museums’ – led by Nick Winterbotham, and impeccably organised by SHARE Museums East, was an interactive and thought-provoking guided learning exercise. The two days included museum visits, object handling, group discussions, and plenty of time to network with both the students and the course leaders. What it did not contain was one single moment that wasn’t fun, interesting and useful.
When you hear the call to attend a SHARE event – heed it, you will not be disappointed!
What is a museum anyway? – Catherine Rizzo
Never having written a blog before in my life, and subtly being encouraged to produce one for SHARE Museums East, I had to ashamedly consult the omniscient ‘Google’ to find the answer to ‘What is a blog anyway?’.
The nature of queries, however, aptly resounds with the questions raised in the recent course run by SHARE – ‘Inside Museums: Your Part in Their Future’. The essence of the course encouraged participants to reflect on the overarching idea of ‘What is a museum anyway?’ What is their purpose? Why bother? Are they still relevant? Questions like this that make you stop and contemplate are we, in the museum sector, making a difference to people’s lives? To society?
In the day to day hustle and bustle of museum life, it can be easy to forget to stop and reflect on the purpose of museums. Certainly, changing a toilet seat for the second time in a week because the visitors have managed – yet again – to somehow work the hinges loose can, occasionally, make you wonder why you changed career and chose to work in a museum. Or, spending too much time worrying that your museum must be the only one that seems to be having issues with money, staff, visitor numbers etc. can certainly take one’s eye off the big picture.
Furthermore, perhaps it is useful to ask ourselves: ‘How do we keep ourselves challenged and inspired in our work?’ It is easy to forget how important and valuable our own continuing professional development is to keeping that vision for our museums and the narratives we tell alive.
This is why it is important to have courses such as this to be able to connect with others in order to help us think creatively and approach our own museums with a fresh perspective. The value of ‘Inside Museums: Your Part in Their Future’ is that opportunity to connect, share, collaborate with other creative thinkers and practitioners whether they be trustees, front of house members, curators, volunteers etc. This way we can create a ‘supermind’ – a collective understanding of what makes a great museum – museums which showcase the wonder of collections and exhibitions and inspire curiosity.
Maybe our part in the future of museums is to continue to discover new ways of connecting and collaborating for the success of all.
Inside Museums – Chris Strang
We have just attended Share Museum East’s two-day training programme ‘Inside Museums’, a fascinating and thought-provoking interactive course on customer engagement in museums and galleries.
The course treats you to great insights, guest speakers, practical sessions, fun challenges and visits to museums, while providing ample opportunity for collaboration between the participants. Our participant group comprised enthusiastic and creative trustees, volunteers and interpretation staff who all brought interesting perspectives from their own museum experience.
The broad agenda covers the management of museums and exhibitions, collections interpretation and exhibition, customer engagement and inclusion, and how to keep the offering relevant for today’s audience.
The course is amiably and expertly led by the impressive Dr Nick Winterbotham, whose deep knowledge of museums really helps bring to life discussions on how to keep exhibitions and story-telling relevant for changing expectations.
I have found the SHARE Museums East training to be of a consistently high standard: courses such as this are worth committing the time to attend and will definitely help your exhibition strategy.
Give it a go!