Manchester Museum

Museum Development North West

Alex Bird, 16.07.2015
Getting the most from interns
Museum Development North West had heard some horror stories about interns, so were initially a little nervous about hosting one. But we bit the bullet and recruited our first intern with funding from the Creative Employment Programme at Manchester City Council.

Ryan Hughes was a graduate in professional broadcast techniques from the University in Salford and what he lacked in museum experience he more than made up for in his passion and enthusiasm for the role.

Hughes initially needed close supervision, especially when it came to our online communications but after a few weeks of helping him to tweak his writing style and understand the importance of uniform formatting we felt comfortable enough to let him take charge of our output.

I worked closely with him to find out what his aspirations were and encouraged him to actively seek out training opportunities that would allow him to build up his CV and skillset.

As it turned out Hughes was a keen filmmaker and was in the process of working with friends to set up a film production collective, and we jumped at the chance to make the most of his experience.

Museum Development North West’s communications output was mainly through our blog and Twitter, so having someone in the team that could produce high quality films for us was brilliant. As with the communications, I had to work closely with Hughes to produce the first film but once he knew what type of thing we wanted he felt comfortable enough to work with minimal support.

The films have been a great advocacy tool for us and the museums involved while simultaneously building up his portfolio.

So all of those horror stories appear unfounded (for us at least). Hughes became an integral part of the team and having him around had a huge impact on our capacity.

Would we do it again? Of course. Watching Hughes go from nervous young person to highly competent colleague was a great experience, and I hope we’re as fortunate in the future.

Alex Bird is the sector development officer at Museum Development North West