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Orphan Collections 2016

Hampshire Solent Museum Development Programme/University of Portsmouth Bachelor of Laws Student Project 2015-17


For the past two years, our partnership with the University of Portsmouth School of Law has given museums access to increased legal skills and created opportunities for students to experience museums as a workplace. Students have helped museums in Hampshire Solent to:

  • Trace the legal owners of loaned items;
  • Convert historic loans of objects to donations;
  • Put in place effective volunteering policies and procedures;
  • Strengthen the diversity of their governing bodies.

For 2016/7, we are partnering with the Practical Lawyer Unit of the University of Portsmouth to provide undergraduate students with a well-supported and assessed opportunity to get some real professional experience by working with museums.

What does the Project provide?

Given the complex nature of museum management, it is easy to see why museums require specialist, legal advice of many different kinds. Yet, not all boards have ready access to the advice they need.

This project aims to provide legal assistance to museums through the following:

  • A team of two students will be assigned to a museum and work with you on a project from September 2016 - March 2017
  • Each team will spend 3 months prior to that with the University's staff on acquiring specialist subject knowledge in your area of legal advice required
  • Each student will commit 100hrs of volunteer time to support your museum's project
  • Each student will write an assessed essay on a subject relating to your project, the choice of title being agreed with you

In order to qualify for this unit, the students have to attend an assessment centre recruitment process which tests their communication and interpersonal skills.

What does the Museum commit to?

The students you will be working with are participating on a fully assessed module that has certain requirements such as the completion of a minimum of 100hrs work, the relevant essay, and a university-managed appraisal process. The successful museum partner needs to support this unit and commit to the following:

  • Propose a clear brief on what you ned the students to research and advise on, as well as agree any changes to that original brief formally and with all parties involved
  • Provide sufficient time to be a point of contact for the students who can manage their visits and access to information, as well as answer their museum related questions; plus: effectively delegate this responsibility at times of individual's absence
  • Sign-off the students attendance forms to verify the time they are spending with you
  • Communicate any concerns relating to the project in a timely manner to the lecturer overseeing the unit
  • Share your experience and any non-confidential resources produced as part of the scheme with the wider South East Museum Development Programme

Orphan Collections is designed to be a positive benefit to your organisations capacity to operate successfully. All partners must be aware that there is a need for flexibility in its delivery.

Programme Update

In January 2016, we successfully recruited two partner museums tojoin the programme. Each will host 2 student to review specific areas of their ownership records and legal status.

The students are currently training in Intellectual Property Rights law in anticipation of their placements, which will take place between September 2016 and March 2017.

To find out more about the project, or to express an interest in taking part in the future, contact your Museum Development Officer.