Learning Museum 2014–2017

The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund




Partners that hosted trainees in 2015-16 are:

  • Beamish Museum, County Durham
  • City of Oxford Museum, Oxford
  • Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service, Ipswich
  • Galleries of Justice, Nottingham
  • Imperial War Museum North, Manchester
  • National Museums Northern Ireland, Belfast
  • National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Port Sunlight Museum, Wirral
  • The Infirmary and George Marshall Medical Museum, Worcester
  • Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, Worthing

    Partners that hosted trainees in 2016-17 are:

  • The Atkinson, Southport
  • Down County Museum, Northern Ireland
  • Henley River & Rowing Museum
  • Heritage & Culture Warwickshire (HCW)
  • Museum nan Eilean, Isle of Benbecula, Scotland
  • Time and Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth & Norfolk Museums Service
  • Plymouth City Museum and Gallery
  • Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton
  • Wrexham Museum, Wales



    Between 2014 and 2017, the Learning Museum programme supported 18 young people from diverse backgrounds to undertake a year-long vocational training placement at UK partner museums, developing practical skills in collections care, management and access.

    Learning Museum was the British Museum’s third training initiative made possible by support from the Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future programme. It was designed to:

    • Nurture the next generation of the museum workforce, drawing in fresh perspectives from a diverse cohort of trainees, enabling them to harness the power of objects and engage under-represented audiences.
    • Champion best practice in dynamic collections skills and showcase innovation in museum development across the UK, ensuring a sustainable future for the museum sector.
    • Develop a proactive network of trainees, partner museums and the British Museum, leading to further long-term nationwide collaboration.


    The British Museum, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund has worked with the Audience Agency to draw together our experience of recruiting for diversity.

    To support other museums and organisations interested in learning from this approach please see the following Roadmap and introductory films.

    Learning Museum Roadmap 2018

    Trainee experience animation

    Overview of Approach animation

    Approach in action animation

    Fresh perspectives

    Two cohorts of trainees completed placements at 19 different Partner Museums where they undertook a wide variety of activities.

    Since being a part of the project, I feel I have already gained huge amounts of knowledge and experience. I’ve been able to participate in a range of different and exciting opportunities within the museum, each of which has given me the will to achieve more and pursue a further career within museums once the training has been completed.

    Learning Museum trainee, 2015-16


    Skills for a resilient sector

    Each month the trainees came together for a training session, hosted by each partner museum in turn. These sessions focused on key areas of sector skills need: collections care and management; community engagement; digital and social media; lifelong learning programmes; volunteer management; partnership development; interpretation and audience research; marketing and PR; fundraising; and business skills and entrepreneurship.


    Proactive partnership

    Over the two phases of the programme, Learning Museum worked with 19 partner museums across the UK.

    Being part of the Learning Museum project has, and continues to, inform our practice… The project has developed our understanding of diversity and some of the barriers that prevent the sector from becoming a diverse workforce. Learning Museum encouraged us to test alternative methods of recruitment and to think if and how these might work for the variety of roles we offer.

    Learning Museum partner, 2015-16

    We’re looking forward to beginning the process of developing a workforce that reflects the diverse make-up of the city.

    Learning Museum partner, 2016-17

    The programme can make a positive impact on young people’s lives and career options.

    Learning Museum partner, 2016-17

    We want to engage communities that don’t currently work with us to share experience, knowledge and stories

    Learning Museum partner, 2016-17