Making museums work (and work at museums)

Last week I had the great good fortune to meet with Reethah Desi and Jackie Winchester at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery to discuss how museums can contribute to delivering employability skills. We had (I hope Reethah and Jackie agree!) a very stimulating discussion on how museums can help the unemployed back into work. I’m sad to say I was blissfully ignorant of the museum’s excellent project Moving Forward which is delivered by M Shed in collaboration with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and local employment support agencies. The project gives young people the confidence and skills to obtain customer service/front of house style jobs. For many this is simply a stepping stone to future, wider employment options.

This project drew inspiration from Manchester Museum and Imperial War Museum North’s In Touch Volunteer Programme which developed adult’s employability skills almost by accident!

The museum sector needs more of these projects. Whether large or small, national or independent, rural or urban, Roman history or geology, whatever your museum is about you can turn your hand to helping adults gain the confidence and motivation they need to re-engage with society and employment. Oh, and they might just become new visitors while they are at it…

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One thought on “Making museums work (and work at museums)

  1. True! However, while doing that, we should never discourage and underestimate the youth who has decided to be committed to museums and study about them. Every year thousands of young people graduate from arts, humanities and museum studies schools and they find themselves unemployed and underestimated even by “museum people”. It’s high time this stopped.

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