Future Curators

Museum traineeships

The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund

About the programme

As part of the programme each trainee will be supported in the completion of the British Museum Curatorial Diploma.

The diploma is an accredited vocational qualification and is an equivalent to a Level 5 on the Qualifications and Credits Framework (QCF). The framework of training will cover all the essential elements of developing the necessary skills to become a curator and will be supported by formal training sessions as well as on-the-job training.

Modules include:

  • Object orientation
  • Object care
  • Object dissemination and reception
  • Object audiences
  • Object based learning
  • Object ethics
  • Objects and the museum
  • Interpersonal skills

Each trainee is responsible for documenting his or her own learning by keeping detailed evidence. This can be in a number of different formats including witness testimonies and professional discussions. This evidence will then need to be uploaded onto an online ePortfolio system for assessment.

The trainee’s supervisor will manage assessment of the diploma with further support from the programme manager and internal verifiers. This will take place throughout the programme ensuring the trainees are always aware what is left to achieve.

Formal training

While at the British Museum the formal training sessions will be scheduled approximately once a week and then during the partner museum phase will take place once a month. These sessions will be a mixture of hands-on workshops, theory-based sessions, museum visits and introductory sessions. These sessions will not only introduce best practice for work as a curator, but will also cover processes from across the museum. They will be an opportunity for the trainees to develop their network of museum contacts.

On-the-job training

The trainees will have a designated curatorial supervisor throughout the programme. At the British Museum, depending on their project focus, each trainee will be based in the relevant collections department and then, at the partner museum, each trainee will have a specific area of the collection to work on. The curatorial work experience will both develop the learning gained in the formal training but also support each trainee’s subject specialism.

At the start of the programme each trainee will be given a clear outline of his or her main projects and responsibilities. This will be the basis of their training plan. Each trainee will work very closely with their supervisor and other department colleagues. There will also be opportunities for each trainee to work outside of the collection departments, for example with learning and events teams.