Mid Antrim Museum Service Hosts Innovative Museum Training Scheme

02 May 2014

The Northern Ireland Museums Council has just launched a pioneering training scheme to provide ten people with the skills and experience to help them build careers in the museum and heritage sector. The Community Engagement Initiative has been developed in partnershipwith National Museums Northern Ireland and has received funding of £354,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. By the end of the programme, these ten will have had the opportunity to gain specialist skills and practical, work-based experience in engaging communities with museum collections.

The Mid-Antrim Museums Service has a pivotal role to play in the successful delivery of this initiative because it was selected to host one of the trainees.

Over the next 18 months, Greenisland local, Beth Frazer will receive training and valuable hands-on experience at the Braid.

Speaking at the launch in Belfast, Beth said,

“I am very pleased to have gained a placement on this innovative scheme.  Over the next 18 months I will have the opportunity to take part in practical learning skills and have an insight into various aspects of Museum work, such as, looking after a museum collection, community engagement and contributing to the programme delivery at the Braid and across the Mid-Antrim Museums. I look forward to exploring all the Museums Art Collections and using these to highlight the built heritage and sense of place through the ‘Ways of Seeing Project’. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to gain experience not just at the Braid but also at the Larne, Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus sites.”

Jayne Clarke, Curator at MAMS who will be coaching Beth throughout her placement said:

“In hosting this placement, MAMS is demonstrating their commitment to trainingenthusiastic people committed to pursuing a career in the museum sector.  Beth will be assisting us with an important project targeting new audiences from rural village community groups and youth groups aged 18-25 years.  Ways of Seeing will utilise relevant works from the art collections held within MAMS museums as a catalyst to inspire communities across MAMS Partner Councils and to inform a sense of place in order to foster and encourage positive engagement with their built environment, especially in relation to the built heritage. The project will culminate in a MAMS travelling exhibition in 2016.”

Jayne continued

“As well as gaining hands-on experience and access to our unique and diverse collections, Beth will have the opportunity to work with their local communities to find ways of placing them at the heart of the museum and I look forward to working with her on this project.”

Speaking at the launch, NIMC Director,Chris Bailey, said,

“Ensuring that tomorrow’s museum professionals have the necessary skilled is a key aspect of making museums a sustainable community resource. This training programme will also strengthen the bond between people and their local museums and is an investment that will further protect our heritage for the enjoyment of this and future generations.”

Paddy Gilmore, Director of Learning & Partnership at National Museums Northern Ireland said,

“National Museums Northern Ireland is delighted to be a partner in this excellent scheme which gives aspiring museum professionals invaluable knowledge and an appreciation of work in the museum and heritage sectors.  Our museums have also benefitted from the enthusiasm and contribution of the participants.”

The Community Engagement Initiative is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Skills for the Future’ programme, which aims to provide work-basedtraining across the heritage sector. HLF has invested over £1 million in the programme in Northern Ireland.

Mark Glover, Northern Ireland Committee Member of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said,

“Nurturing skills – of all types – continues to be a hugely important part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s work. We’re delighted that this significant investment will help encourage growth and build resilience within the heritage sector across the UK.”

We recognise the hugely important role that heritage plays in creating a brighter, more prosperous future for us all. We wish the new trainees every success as they embark on their training programme and placements. We also thank all the trainers and museum staff who will be passing on their valuable experience and helping to ensure that our heritage remains in good hands.”

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