Mary Rose Museum partners with British Museum Knowledge Exchange Programme
The Mary Rose Museum was a 2014 partner in the British Museum Knowledge Exchange Programme, having found out about the opportunity via the Hampshire Solent Museum Development newsletter. The British Museum selected to host Clare Barnes, Learning Officer, from the Mary Rose Museum and in return the Mary Rose Museum selected Stacy Addison from the British Museum Events Team.
You can read a detailed case study here - we've sumarised some highlights below.
With generous support from the Vivmar Foundation, the Knowledge Exchange programme offers the opportunity of a fully funded and co-ordinated five day professional exchange. Colleagues at the British Museum and partner organisations apply through a competitive application process to be selected to participate in the exchange. The British Museum hosts colleagues from partner organisations, and in return British Museum colleagues get the opportunity to exchange for five days at the partner museums. The exchanges are varied but underpinning all of them is opportunity to share knowledge and skills between organisations and in turn gain new ideas and experience. The programme has been developed and coordinated by the British Museum's National Programmes Team.
The Mary Rose submitted a successful application and the British Museum worked with them to select participants. The British Museum selected to host Clare Barnes, Learning Officer, from the Mary Rose Museum and in return the Mary Rose Museum selected Stacy Addison from the British Museum Events Team.
What were the objectives of the project?
Clare says: 'During my week at the British Museum my main aim was to investigate new areas of potential for the Mary Rose Learning Department in terms of both schools and family visitors. Other areas of interest included marketing and visitor services.'
Stacey says: 'I thought it would be extremely useful to see how events are structured, marketed and executed within another unique venue.'
What was the impact of the project?
The detailed case study, captured by Katy Swift, from the British Museum's National Programmes Team, demonstrates the rich two-way learning opportunity presented by the Learning Exchange. Just a few of the learning outcomes described in the case study:
- Clare observed early years learning in action at the British Museum. This gave her lots of ideas and discussing the principles behind it has inspired Clare to re-design workshops for this growing market at the Mary Rose.
- Clare experienced the British Museum's digital learning approaches, discovered exciting new applications of technology and is now trialling these in workshops for secondary students.
- Stacey experienced the collections knowledge and enthusiasm of events staff at the Mary Rose Museum. She saw how this knowledge is used to engage clients during venue site visits, and how it can influence a decision to host an event within the museum. Stacey is now working to improve her own knowledge of the museum’s key objects so as to make potential clients' visits to the British Museum more engaging.
- Stacey also learned how the events team at the Mary Rose Museum build relationships with their accredited suppliers and how the relationships are reviewed and managed. She saw the benefits to the museum of this approach, such as supplier commitment to provide services free-of-charge for cultivation events. Stacey has already begun to implement elements of this approach at the British Museum.
- During Stacey's visit to Portsmouth she also had the opportunity to visit other heritage venues and meet their event managers, exchanging ideas and knowledge about common issues such as access, conservation and controlling the temperature at events.
- Choose an exchange partner carefully, so that there is mutual benefit.
- Consider the areas where your museum can offer good practice, as well as the areas you want to learn from.
- Make sure that the visits are participatory and interactive.
- Ensure that staff and volunteers who will be involved in the visit (for example having their activities observed) are engaged in the process from an early stage. Both Becky and Clare emphasise in the full case study the significant positive impact that the organisation of their visits and the warm welcome they received had on their learning experience.
- Have a good follow up process, to capture the learning.