Helping Herbert: Leicester museum students blog their internship

Posted by mjs76 at Sep 13, 2011 12:58 PM |
Corals, butterflies, flapper dresses and ex-badgers: not your average work placement.

‘Herbert' is the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery in Coventry where five students from our School of Museum Studies are coming to the end of a two-month work placement.

Sophie Mullen (MA Museum Studies) has been working with the ‘Herbert 2.0’ team to investigate ways of using new media and technology to enrich and increase access to the Herbert's collections, including working on the iSay research project. This is part of the larger LIVE!Museum initiative and is “aimed at capturing visitor memories and experiences in-gallery, and those wonderful spontaneous interactions you sometimes get around museum objects.”

Sophie has also been developing social media and digital engagement plans for a number of upcoming exhibitions and helped to set up the Interns at the Herbert blog on Tumblr, on which she and her colleagues have chronicled their experiences behind the scenes at the Herbert.

The herbertinterns Tumblelog was created by myself, in consultation with marketing and the rest of the Herbert 2.0 team. We hope to use it as a sort of trial or proof-of-concept in creating a more casual, idiosyncratic, look at life behind the scenes of the Herbert, as well as a space where visitors can watch and participate in the conversations that staff members are having with each other.
Sophie Mullen, MA Museum Studies
  • Sam Caulfield-Kerney (MA Museum Studies) is working with the natural history collection, cataloguing the museum's extensive collection of corals.
  • Sarah Finch (MA Museum Studies) is working with the social history and costume collections.
  • Sophie Wallace (MA Art Museum and Gallery Studies) is working with the visual arts collections, cataloguing items and assisting with preparation for an upcoming exhibition of watercolours of Coventry and Warwickshire.

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Sam, Sarah and Sophie W have also worked on the museum's What's In Store gallery - "deciding on themes, choosing objects, writing up labels and measuring display cases" - and together with Sophie M are undertaking evaluation of the museum's History Gallery: tracking visitors and what they do inside the gallery, as well as administering questionnaires.

In addition to the above, Rebecca Harvey (MA Museum Studies) is working with the Learning and Outreach team, helping with tasks such as the Herbert's Getting Involved project and reminiscence work with older people living in Coventry.

Although we interns will be on our way at the end of the week, the museum currently plans to continue on experimenting with Tumblr, and the future should hopefully see it evolving into a venue where a mixture of staff and volunteers are able to share links, thoughts, and snapshots of life inside the Herbert with the rest of the world.
Sophie Mullen, MA Museum Studies

The Museum/Gallery Experience

Work placement in a museum or gallery is a key feature of the highly popular postgraduate courses in our School of Museum Studies. During the summer term, all students undertake an eight-week 'Museum/Gallery Experience' placement. Each year over one hundred museums within the Leicester University Museum Network (LUMeN) send in projects from which students can choose their placement.

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