The Glasgow Guardian interviews Ruth Fletcher, the Hunterian’s education manager about their current student opportunities.
The culture and heritage sector is extremely competitive, so having work experience under your belt and on your CV is important to give yourself the best chance of securing a role in this area. Offering students exactly this, with a mixture of in-person and remote opportunities, is the on-campus, world-renowned Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery. Ruth Fletcher, the Hunterian’s education manager, talks to The Glasgow Guardian about some of the opportunities available to students and how to get involved.
Ruth’s role involves coordinating and delivering the Hunterian’s education programmes, enabling students to broaden their professional development beyond classroom teaching, thus enhancing their graduate prospects by building transferable skills such as effective communication and adaptability.
The Museum Student Educators (MuSE) programme is one of the opportunities which allows students to focus on audience engagement and help visitors to connect with the collections through giving detailed tours: “These tours are hugely beneficial to visitor audiences as this gives a more human side to the collection.” explains Ruth.
The Hunterian Museum and Gallery reopened their doors on 22 September and are welcoming back visitors after a lengthy lockdown closure. From the world’s largest permanent display of Whistler paintings to Ancient Roman artefacts, students gain in-depth subject knowledge and can build rapport with diverse audience groups. With a varied collection flowing through humanities to natural history and world cultures, whether you are an avid art historian or an aspiring scientist, this role invites you to get involved.
“The new MuSE cohort were recruited shortly before the Hunterian’s closure and our subsequent lockdown, so the next round of recruitment will probably take place in early 2021.” However, tours are set to be starting and running from the middle of this month: “It is worth booking a slot on one of these and you can even ask the current team about their experiences so far.” Ruth adds. Places will be available for booking via the Hunterian’s website. In the meantime, check out #MeetTheMuSE for an introduction to the current team, running on Sundays across the Hunterian’s social media channels.
Ad hoc opportunities will be advertised as suits the need. “For example, a project on cataloguing zoological specimens would be advertised to zoology courses, while others are more generic,” Ruth says. This enhances record keeping, improving information on collections and how these are shared with audiences.
Typically master’s and (some) junior honours students need industry practice (usually credit-bearing) as part of their course requirements and this is an option at The Hunterian. Ruth gave one example: “A team of UG History of Art students worked together to plan and deliver a series of schools outreach events. The team was led by a PGT student on placement.”
While some students may be concerned about spending time on campus with the ongoing Covid-19 situation or may be working from another city this semester, there is scope for remote involvement: “The Hunterian also has an online blog which is always looking for content, whether this is about a previous visit or a piece in the collection which you particularly connect with.” says Ruth. #Hunteriantour started during lockdown as a way for our MuSE guides to keep active in their role and they are considering more options for remote work.
Additionally, two PGR Hunterian Associates will feature in the Being Human Festival in November, with Sarah Spence’s Alcohol in the Archives (21 November) and Rachel Fletcher’s New Worlds of Words (19 November). Book tickets for both Being Human Festival events: https://beinghumanfestival.org/event/alcohol-in-the-archives/ https://beinghumanfestival.org/event/new-worlds-of-words/
Stay up to date by checking out the Hunterian Young Friends Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1864450477166083) listing future events. This was set up to encourage student audiences and their friends to be part of the Hunterian community.
“We are eager for students to come in and spend time with the collections, so pop in when you can and enjoy the space.” says Ruth.
The Hunterian museum and gallery are currently open 10-4 Tuesday-Saturday and 11-4 on a Sunday, reserve your tickets at https://the-hunterian.arttickets.org.uk/.
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