Summing Up: ITP 2016
Before we could celebrate the end of ITP 2016 with a BBQ on a sunny London evening the group came together for a final evaluation session, on the workshops, lectures, day trips, partner placements and receptions which had filled the last 6 weeks.
Each participant thought about one aspect of the Programme they found most rewarding and would endeavour to work on back in their museum. Recurring themes included community engagement, volunteer programmes and provisions for children, students, families and the elderly; museum professionals are increasingly aware of the vast and varied ways in which museums across the world can be relevant, accessible and interesting to the people who live around these cultural landmarks.
The popularity of these themes reflects the messages from the British Museum based
Learning and National Partnership day, but also the workshop given by Michelle Kindleysides from Beamish Museum. Michelle, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator, ensures Beamish Museum caters to the needs of the local community. Her advice to start this line of work with a small and regular community group, with something as simple as a‘cup of tea’, ensured participants felt they could develop Michelle’s ideas in their own museums.
Other participants found the breadth of the Programme the most useful aspect. This
broadened their museum experience so that they could better understand how a museum
functions, and what their role is within the museum as a whole. For similar reasons
participants said they gained a lot from their Room 3 experience. This was an opportunity for each participant to create an exhibition proposal for the British Museum’s Room 3. They based their exhibitions around one spotlight object, and presented at a Supporters Reception, enabling participants to work on all aspects of a project from start to finish.
Participants also placed value on their partner museum placement, noting the importance of good relations between museums, particularly during times of austerity. This collaborative effort is promoted in the up and coming ITP Collaborative Awards, which will support applicants who produce work with colleagues from other museums, either in their own country or internationally.
At the end of the session we spent time thinking about how the Programme could be
developed ready for a new group in 2017. Excellent suggestions were made, and we look forward to enabling participants to use British Museum collections, databases and libraries more, by maximising their use of departmental time. For the first time the ITP team welcomed the group to the UK on the Saturday before the Programme started, rather than the Sunday. It was felt this worked well for group bonding and we will support this development next year, by organising a day trip on the first Saturday of the ITP. This will free up the last weekend when participants are better established in London and have their own plans and places to visit. These suggestions plus written evaluations and reports from participants, partner placement staff and British Museum staff will all contribute to the planning of future ITPs.