By Yuting Lou, Partnerships Intern
When I packed up all my stuff and took a train to Edinburgh two months ago, I was too excited to think about how tired I was or how sad I was to leave Leicester where I had lived for ten months. Edinburgh, here I am, finally! I had heard so much praise of Edinburgh from my friends, so when I had the opportunity to take a work placement at National Museums Scotland this summer, I took it without hesitation.
This work placement was the last part of my MA course in Art Museum and Gallery Studies. Having taken courses on history of museums, museums and communities, museums in a digital age and so on, the work placement aims to give us real experience of working in a museum.
Although I have experience volunteering at local museums and working in an office environment as a trainee reporter, the experience of combining these roles together, in an office behind the galleries, was totally new. Not to mention the fact that I was living in a foreign country. Many people warned me how different the accent would be in Scotland, and I was worried about whether I would fit into the new environment quickly, and whether I would be able to complete all my tasks. It was challenging but exciting, and I enjoyed my stay here and had a great time working with all my new colleagues.
So what I have been doing in the past two months? Working in the National Partnerships Department, I conducted research on current trends on touring exhibitions in local authority museums across Scotland. I also helped carry out Knowledge Exchange workshops by preparing reading materials and factsheets, and worked with the Volunteer Co-coordinator on developing internship programmes. I designed and carried out surveys to find out what staff and students think of the current practice and future development of the internship programme and I also volunteered to work for the Sounds Global exhibition by carrying out visitor surveys and helping with exhibition evaluation.
Working in a museum was much more fun than I expected: I loved the fact that I could walk past the Millennium Clock and listen to the music every hour every day, and the chances that I have had to explore the collections. Not to mention so many colleagues who blew my mind with their vast knowledge of the collection! I also really appreciate that my line-manager and the museum gave me so many opportunities to attend meetings, workshops and networking events through which I met many museum professionals and grew my knowledge and skills little by little. Thanks to all the people I have met, the experience has been a pleasant journey and the highlight of my year. Thank you all and hope to see you someday again!