Written by Claire Messenger, Manager, International Training Programme.
This week is week six of the ITP Annual Programme 2021, which marks the release of the second of our series of ‘core skills’ sessions!
On Monday 6th September we released our session on Museum Audiences which focuses on how the British Museum engages with a range of different audiences from schools to local community groups and young adults.
Pre-COVID the British Museum attracted around six million visitors a year, including a quarter of a million school children, many from overseas. How those visitors interact with the collections, staff and our building, is the work of the Department of Learning and National Partnerships (LNP).
LNP provide sessions where children can learn about different world cultures and resources to help teachers plan independent visits to the Museum. They also offer teacher training with themed sessions of subjects such as how the collection can be used to develop writing and literacy skills.
Families are another significant audience. Families can follow themed trails around the Museum or learn more about different objects at one of the Hands-On desks. Through the Samsung Digital Programme, the Museum has become a leader in digital learning, using film, images, and podcasts to engage children with objects and museums. There also is a busy programme for adults.
The Museum works with the local community and aims to bring in local audiences who might not normally visit a museum. We have worked with different groups, including elderly care home residents, youth groups and the homeless.
Volunteers are essential to the Museum. Volunteering allows the community to gain the valuable experience of working in a museum environment and also allows us to resource some of our more successful education and outreach activities. The Eye Opener tours and Hands On object-handling desks are staffed by volunteers.
This session – covering topics our ITP global network will all recognise from their time at the British Museum – focusses on audience analysis; children & schools; communities; families & the Samsung Digital Programme; young adults and volunteering, focussing on our Hands-on desks & Eye Opener tours.
Each week we also share an ‘in conversation’, a module that focusses on a particular theme or current issue in the culture and heritage sector, aimed at replicating our usual summer programme ‘Friday workshops’. This week I had the pleasure of talking to Vaidehi Savnal, Assistant Curator; International Relations and In-charge; Education at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS Mumbai) and ITP Fellow 2016 about CSMVS’s wonderful Children’s Museum. It was lovely to catch-up with Vaidehi and I am very excited to share her work and that of her team with our ITP cohort 2021.