A British Museum initiative to invest in a diverse generation of museum professionals has announced the third and final cohort of partner museums for 2021 across the UK. The South West Heritage Trust is delighted to be part of the initiative for the second year running.

Museum Futures, a three-year programme supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and managed by the British Museum, gives 18–24-year olds from a range of backgrounds the opportunity to receive year-long paid training. This training enables applicants without degrees or prior museum experience to pursue a career in the museum and heritage sector that might have otherwise been unattainable.

Training and Digital Skills

Focusing on digital skills, trainees receive on-the-job training at UK partner museums, and also work towards a Level 3 diploma in Cultural Heritage to boost their learning throughout the year. Trainees further benefit from support of a trained mentor working within the sector, monthly training sessions at the partner museums and experience working on digital skills-based projects related to museum collections.

Museums participating in Museum Futures 2021 are: Museum of East Anglian Life, South West Heritage Trust (Museum of Somerset & Somerset Rural Life Museum), Fitzwilliam Museum: University of Cambridge Museums, National Football Museum, The Atkinson, Museum of Cardiff, Culture Perth and Kinross and the British Museum.

Successful Projects

Currently in its second year of a three-year programme, Museum Futures will benefit a total of 25 trainees by its end in 2021. Successful projects from 2019 ranged from 3D imaging and projections at York Museums Trust, editing the official podcast at the British Museum to launching a new software to help digitally preserve archives in Somerset. Current 2020 trainees have proven very resilient, continuing to work during museum closures throughout the country. Projects have been adapted during lockdown, ranging from developing an interactive timeline to display important events in Bristol’s history using open source technology to creating an online tutorial allowing museum collections to be viewed in Augmented Reality on a smartphone, and collecting local COVID-19 mementos to document this time across the UK.

Taster Days

Taster days (in-person or virtual) will be held at each venue this autumn allowing prospective trainees a relaxed and informal insight into the traineeship and the varied job roles available in the museums. Applications for each partner museum will open on 15 September 2020 on the Museum Futures website.

Increasing Diversity

The British Museum will work with partners to establish target audiences for recruitment based on their staff diversity profile and their local communities. Candidates without formal qualifications, those that live in the local area to one of the host museums (rural or urban areas depending on the venue), lacking any previous museum experience and those who are underrepresented in the museum sector (for example, candidates who are Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME), from lower socio-economic backgrounds and/or disabled candidates) are particularly encouraged to apply. Trainees will be recruited locally by their host museum, with each role description and project bespoke to that partner museum. Museum Futures Trainees for 2021 will begin placements in January.

More Information

For more information about Museum Futures placements visit the website.