Students at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts have been in London for the past few weeks, developing ideas for a mentoring scheme with the ITP team. Here are their thoughts and reflections on their first two weeks.
Hello ITP Fellows!
We are very excited to be in London working to further expand the ITP and add to your network of museum professionals.
Our team of four arrived on Saturday, March 11, and since then we have immersed ourselves in the culture of this wonderful city! There are so many sites to see, so many activities to try, and, of course, so many museums to visit. It is still surreal for us to come into work every day to the British Museum, and we are so lucky to have this opportunity.
On Friday afternoon, we walked around the museum for a few hours to really explore all the amazing artefacts and art on display. Patrick was excited to see Greek and Roman artifacts, and Juan was interested in the Japanese exhibitions, Amanda really wanted to see European exhibits, and Miguel was fascinated by the clocks and watches. There is something for everyone to enjoy at the BM!
In week 1 we began brainstorming ideas for the content and structure of the programme, and learned much about your backgrounds and what you have experienced as part of the ITP.
We also prepared for interviews with ITP fellows to gain direct input for the programme. We hope you will all benefit greatly from the mentoring programme, so your thoughts on how to make the programme successful and meaningful are really valuable.
It is crazy how fast the time has gone by when working on this project, but we are making the most of our experience. Emma, Becca, and Claire are wonderful people to work with, and we are excited for what the next weeks will bring!
In week 2 we began interviewing a few of you to get your thoughts and feedback on the mentoring scheme. We have had great conversations which have provided some insight on what people expect from the mentor role at the ITP. We thank you all for your time and ideas. Besides that, we have also been meeting with a few people at the British museum to get their feedback on our work. We have been narrowing down on the scheme and will be developing materials in week 3.
We have also been exploring more of the museum, including the new acquisitions and a meeting with the curator of Clocks & Watches. In the acquisitions meeting, we were all particularly interested in a Chinese scroll from 1965 picturing the celebratory parade of the 16th anniversary since the foundation of the People´s Republic of China. The drawings were very detailed, in fact, the scroll had some silver linings on the edges in order to make it look like an old-school Chinese scroll. Other items that were interesting to us was a counterfeit Cuban Peso bill which is believed to have been made by the Americans before the Bay of Pigs invasion. Our meeting at Clocks & Watches was particularly interesting to us due to the engineering aspect involved in watchmaking. It was really enlightening to learn how clocks work, how they have developed throughout time, and how watchmakers strive to achieve precision. We learnt how the development of clocks was both a cause and effect of scientific development. It was wonderful and somewhat strange to see these types of objects in a museum, somewhere between art and science, past and future.
We are very excited for next week as we will visit Manchester in order to talk with Ronan Brindley, Head of Learning at Manchester Art Gallery, and Adam Jaffer, Collections Officer at the People’s History Museum, to see how other institutions around the U.K. implement mentoring schemes.
The WPI Team