Museum Essentials - Museums Association

Museum Essentials

Confidence and competence for all

Our Museum Essentials online learning programme will build your confidence and competence in key areas of museum practice.

The modules are free and available to all individual members of the Museums Association. Through a combination of content and exercises, you can complete each module at your own pace, at a time and place that suits you.

Our first five modules are now online: Supporting Anti-racism, Working with the Learning and Engagement Manifesto, Working Ethically, Working with Collections and Working with Community Partners. Further modules will be added in future.

Sharon Heal talks about the Museum Essentials modules

Each module has been designed by experts and draws upon a range of Museums Association publications and other resources and content.

They are a perfect introduction to new staff, students, volunteers, freelancers and recent entrants to the sector or they can be a refresher to help you stay up to date with new practice. These modules also support the Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA) competencies.

If you are not currently an individual member, join today to access Museum Essentials and other benefits.

Join today

Discounts are available for employers purchasing multiple memberships. You may wish to sign up several members of staff and volunteers as part of their induction process, so that they can undertake the Museum Essentials modules.

Please contact us for further details via membership@museumsassociation.org.

Our Museum Essentials modules

NEW – Museum Essentials: Supporting Anti-racism

The Supporting Anti-racism module is divided into 5 sections with 5 lessons in each section, which aim to raise your awareness and build your confidence in taking action for anti-racism. The module takes 5-15 hours to complete and can be worked on in stages.

We hope that by providing a mix of information, exercises, resources and signposting you will be able to develop your confidence and competence around your own anti-racist practice and be more equipped to take action.

This module is for everyone who works in and with museums, and those interested in joining the sector.

Supporting Anti-racism connects with the individual and institutional integrity, and public engagement and public benefit competencies of the Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA).

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Museum Essentials: Working with the Learning and Engagement Manifesto

This module is for all museum practitioners and those interested in joining the sector. It will help you think about your professional practice and use the Museums Association’s Learning and Engagement Manifesto as a framework to develop your work.

The module is divided into 5 sections with 5 lessons in each section. It takes 5-15 hours to complete and can be worked on in stages.

We hope that by providing a mix of information, exercises, resources and signposting you will be able to develop your confidence and competence around your own practice in relation to the Museums Association’s Learning and Engagement Manifesto.

Working with the Learning and Engagement Manifesto supports the public engagement and public benefit element of the Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA).

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Museum Essentials: Working with Collections

The Working with Collections module takes 5-15 hours to complete and can be worked on in stages. The five sections cover dynamic collections practice, contemporary collecting and interpretation.

The module teaches you how to make better use of your collections and introduces you to the key principles around collecting, disposal of collections and the basics of interpretation, documentation and participatory practice.

This module is beneficial to anyone working in a museum, gallery or heritage site, regardless of role. It gives new entrants an overview of museum collections practice, which gives them a better understanding of their organisation even if they do not work directly with collections.

Great course, very accessible and a great variety of additional resources to watch, read and participate in.

Eleanor Thomas. Museum Essentials: Working with Collections

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Museum Essentials: Working Ethically

The Working Ethically module takes 5-15 hours to complete and can be worked on in stages. There are five sections which cover public engagement and benefit, individual and institutional integrity, and stewardship.

The module encompasses the MA’s Code of Ethics and the ethical, moral and legal position. It covers considerations in public engagement and benefit, how ethics effects stewardship, and how we care for and use collections. You will learn the beginnings of arguments around sponsorship and look at various ethical dilemmas.

This module is beneficial to anyone working in a museum, gallery or heritage site, regardless of role. It gives new entrants a thorough introduction to ethical practice which can be applied across any area of museum practice.

I loved this course. I learned so much and it made me think critically about so many different issues. Thank you.

Llewela Selfridge. Museum Essentials: Working Ethically

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Museum Essentials: Working with Community Partners

The Working with Community Partners module takes 5-15 hours to complete and can be worked on in stages. There are five sections which cover Partnerships with Purpose – the MA’s pilot project aimed at supporting museums to partner with community organisations; participatory practice; context and culture and putting it all into practice.

The module offers practical content and guidance. We hope by providing a mix of information, exercises, resources and signposting you will be able to develop your confidence and competence around your own partnerships and encourage others to work with community partners.

This module will help you think about your practice and partnership development considerations. It is written for anyone in the museum sector who wants to know more about how effective partnerships can be.

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I have completed this course feeling encouraged, curious, and accomplished!

Sarah Albany Parker. Museum Essentials: Working with Collections

Hero image: purpleSTARS participants hold Black Lives Matter banners at the Museum of London, credit to Orson Nava

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