Hello everyone! I hope you are all well.
We are delighted to share with you a summary of the first week of the International Training Programme! As you all may know, the programme always begins with introduction of the British Museum by Neil MacGregor and the British Museum departments, followed by a day of participant presentations. This is the first opportunity we get to meet everyone formally, although there has been a series of email correspondences before their arrival. In the first week we spent quite a lot time on collections management, databases, libraries and archives.
We had a special session on ‘Childhood & Children Museum’ at closing in the week on Friday. It was an interactive session in which each participant shared their ideas about museums for children; and of course how childhood has been depicted in their culture. Ian Jenkins, Curator, Greece & Rome led the session with his eloquent speech on how ancient Greeks utilised childhood through depicting it on their intricately designed vases: they have also immortalised the memory of childhood in their mythology. Bilwa Kulkarni, Educator (and ITP 2015 participant!) from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), India shared her plan and ideas of how essential it is to have a ‘Children’s Museum’ at the CSMVS premises. The week ended with a ‘Weekly Evaluation’, in which we discussed about the ‘Highlights’ of the week and expectations!
Below are tweets from our participants about their feelings, challenges they are facing, and the learning and experiences of this first week:
- “Such an exciting day. Full of things and people. An unforgettable tour by Ian Jenkins in the Enlightenment Gallery and then in the Parthenon Gallery celebrating the universality of classical antiquity and the value of the (collected) beauty. Lots of expectations and interesting people. Excited to be back in a global city and a global museum which have reserved a place for me as well.” Esther Solomon, Greece
- On the second day of the ITP, our participants ‘Introduction Day’, Bahra shares her experience:
“I spent a very busy day but I got the opportunity to know about different museums around the world. All participants gave me different new theories about museums. It seems today I visited all of those museums in one day. The evening was a great occasion to meet other staffs in British Museum”. Bahra Salih Abdulrahman, Kurdistan
- “About a week before I arrived in London, I’d been hearing all about the glorious summer with soaring temperatures in the 30s (celsius). The morning I arrived, it was about 12 degrees and pouring…I really shouldn’t have been surprised. I’d heard this saying once about how New York was an oil painting and London a watercolour. That morning, tired after taking an overnight flight, I remembered that quote, and it made more sense to me than it ever had before. It was still good to be here though, to breathe the air and smell the promise in it.” Zarmeene Shah, Pakistan
- “Course arrangement is interesting and methodical. We now have an overall understanding of the British Museum’s operations. However, the setup of elective courses for us to choose based on our professional and interest, will be better for the whole program. I hope to communicate with you though language is the biggest obstacle. I am very grateful to my Chinese colleagues and specially Emma for their support.” Li Lan, China
- “Absolutely wonderful session on childhood and children’s museums & a dynamic context in which we got to talk about our perspectives on the subject. As a mother of two children I felt what we were doing today was indeed very relevant, for all, for the young and for the young-at-heart!” Tugba Tanyeri Erdemir, Turkey
As you can see, there is an astonishing sense of seeing ‘all the museums’ in one day; a poetic narrative of arriving in London, alongside an effort for making friendship with others breaking the language barrier. This is it for now; more will be followed in coming weeks.