Heritage Lottery Fund awards Oxford University’s Museums and Botanic Garden grant under SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE Programme

The scheme will fund trainees in placements across the University’s Museums & Botanic Garden, to gain broad experience of working in the heritage sector.

SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE aims to provide graduates and young people from a range of backgrounds with the opportunity to train in the heritage industry – an important and growing sector – but one in which it is often difficult to break into. The HLF’s grant provides 90% of the funding for twelve 18-month training placements which will encompass on-the-job experience of heritage education, work with collections, volunteer management, and museum interpretation. Trainees will use new media and technology which plays an increasingly important role in the way museums and heritage sites communicate with their visitors. At the end of the placements trainees will have worked on a variety of projects at top institutions and will be well-placed to work in museum education.

Dr Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean Museum said: ‘The Heritage Lottery Fund’s continued support of the University of Oxford’s Museums and Botanic Garden is very important. We have, in Oxford, world-class collections; excellent museum and botanic garden facilities; and museum professionals who are leading experts in their fields. The HLF’s SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE PROGRAMME will enable us to offer great opportunities to trainees who want to work in museums and heritage education, and to continue our work in making the collections, teaching and research of the University of Oxford available to the widest possible audience. The training will draw substantially on the innovative work of the Museums’ education officers, currently supported by the Museums Libraries and Archives Renaissance programme to reinvigorate regional museums’

Trainees will all undertake their training at three of the five sites across the University of Oxford: the Ashmolean Museum, the University Museum of Natural History, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum, and the Museum of the History of Science.

Louise Allen, Curator at the Oxford Botanic Garden, said: ‘This project will enable us to provide wonderful training opportunities for people who want to work in heritage education, but who need to gain experience. We believe that training across several of Oxford’s collections will equip trainees with a good understanding of different types of collection and the skills required to communicate effectively with a wide audience. We are offering a bursary to trainees to cover their living costs while they undertake their placement, and hope to encourage applications from people who have the potential to become excellent education officers.’

Information about the first placements will be advertised in autumn 2010 on the University’s museums and collections websites, and trainees will start work from spring 2011.

The HLF’s award to Oxford will be incorporated into the University’s Keeping Heritage AliveI! programme. It is one of 54 awards made by the HLF to organisations across the country.


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