Learning from others

Practitioners expressed an increased confidence and willingness to share what they had learned, both internally and with other museums.

A huge volume of informal learning took place across Effective Collections projects. This learning was recognised as having a useful value to practitioners and their museums in the future. Shared recognition of the value of this informal learning would help to reinforce its worth to the sector.

One of the lasting legacies of Effective Collections projects could and should be the purposeful facilitation of learning exchanges between individuals and organisations that have and have not benefited from an Effective Collections project.

Collections Learning is about facilitating informal learning. Use the Comments page to say what you think, share information and suggest ways of sharing learning that have worked for you.


Which ways of learning worked best?

Which ways of learning worked best?

The most highly valued learning was practical, hands-on, needs-driven learning, often from other museum colleagues. Project staff learned from their own colleagues, coaches and experts, other museums, partner organisations, museum users, MA training days, peers at cohort meetings and a wide range of people from the community.

Shrinking budgets and fewer staff are obliging museum staff to abandon their departmental silos and work together. Some projects were set up for this to happen intentionally - curatorial staff learning from technicians and administrative staff, and classically, specialist collections staff working with education departments.


Learning from others 2

Volunteers were crucial to the success of many projects, offering local and specialist knowledge, increasing the capacity of the museum to get the task finished and committing to a lasting relationship with the museum.

Volunteer experts were crucial to the success of a number of projects

Volunteers were crucial to the success of many projects, offering local and specialist knowledge, increasing the capacity of the museum to get the task finished and committing to a lasting relationship with the museum.

"The Marine Biology Association (MBA) recommended retired scientists to get in touch with who have been enormously helpful with adding history and knowledge to the collection.

"The benefits were numerous: providing expert assistance with the collection, recommending hard working volunteers, and providing important historical information associated with the specimens. Many of the specimens had no locality, no species, and no collector information, only a code...

The MBA provided (on many occasions) detailed information about these codes, which has enriched the information, and ensured these specimens were not disposed of. They provided expert knowledge for the development of the exhibition, as well as digital images, books and scanned images."

Jan Freedman, Plymouth City Museum

Learning from others 3

Museum staff were appreciative of the support and guidance they got from MA Coaches. Coaches helped in formulating plans, finding experts, structuring delivery, reviewing progress and providing museums with different examples of how to project plan. Time out with their Coaches also helped museums to think about how they could manage and use their collections effectively - in the longer term.