|Archaeology and Heritage|
|Visitor Services/Assistant Curator|
|York Army Museum|
|Tourism, leisure and hospitality|
|Small business (0-49 employees)|
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A day in the life of a Visitor Services/Assistant Curator in the United Kingdom
Dissertation research through volunteering at the York Army Museum.
What I do
The York Army Museum is a case study for my undergraduate dissertation, so my intention was to collect my own research through questionnaires and interviews. I would hand out my questionnaires on the front desk whilst also interacting with visitors, welcoming them to the museum, helping with any inquiries and managing the shop. I assisted in curating an upcoming exhibition by meeting with the artist (it is an art exhibition), advising on how the artifacts are going to be displayed and being put in charge of visitor evaluation/feedback, which includes me designing my own format.
Skills I use and how I developed them
My communication skills were greatly improved as I was interacting not only with the public, but with the museum staff/volunteers which then enabled me to think seriously and realistically about my future career within the heritage sector. My commercial awareness of being able to fully understand the 'behind-the-scenes' management of a museum has been reinforced. I used my initiative when conducting visitor feedback, inquiries regarding relatives of those who died in the military and helping to put together the next exhibition. The ability to work as a team was important as I took on responsibilities and met my deadlines for the exhibition(s), whilst also being a positive member of the team. Conducting my interviews to members of staff required confidence and organisation, from formulating the questions to creating consent forms and information sheets for the interviewee to sign etc.
What I like most
Being in an environment focused on the heritage sector and also being able to use my enthusiasm for the First World War to improve the workings of the museum.
What surprised me most
The amount of work and time the museum staff commit to their institution, and also the volunteers' dedication, because without them the museum wouldn't be as highly regarded as it is.
My advice to students considering work
All experience is valuable, whether that be in the field you are interested in or working in retail. You will develop skills without even realising it and this will make you stand out!
Take up as many opportunities you can!
If you like the look of Madeleine’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Madeleine a message to find out more about their career journey.