I had a wonderful experience and gained much more knowledge of the museum world during my time in London and Newcastle.
Firstly, there was the phenomenom of multi-site museums: Tyne and Wear Museums (TWM) consist of 12 museums in 5 different areas. This system of combining sites allows the museum to optimise resources and unite management. Considering the current developments with small and medium sized museums in China at the moment, I think this combination of sites such as seen at TWM would be useful.
Secondly, I was struck by the importance of education. In the UK, education is considered as the most imporatnt responsibility of museums. In China, we still consider conservation and research as the main responsibilities – I think perhaps we should change this.
Thirdly, the museums in the UK communicate extemely well with the public, and do many things based on feedback from the public, inlcuding special displays and facilities for disabled visitors.
Fourthly, the advanced conservation and scientific organisation of the collections. Ideas and techniques used at the BM are something that I would like to see implemented in China.
Fifth – the volunteer system. We also have volunteers in Chinese museums but we lack the same extensive management and training of volunteers as I’ve seen in the UK.
Finally, the outreach and marketing methods used by various museums in the UK. These include the “Histories of the World” project shared by the British Museum and the BBC. Similarly, the “Cultural Shock” project of TWM – I would be interested to learn more of such ways of opening museums to wider audiences.