Sharing and Learning
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: May 31, 2017
National Museum Wales consists of National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans National History Museum, the National Slate Museum, the National Wool museum, the National Roman Legion Museum, Big Pit National Coal Museum, the National Waterfront Museum and the National Collections Centre. These 8 are across wales and the collections cover earth and natural sciences, fine and applied art and the archaeology, industrial and social history of Wales. Our aim is to be a world class museum of learning. We have over 1.5 million visitors a year with 435,000 learners.St Fagans National History Museum combines on one site functions which are generally delivered by separate institutions: the cultural learning experiences of a heritage site, an open-air museum of translocated historic buildings, gallery exhibitions, as well as the national archive of Welsh oral testimony. Over the next decade, the aim is to make St Fagans the most important centre for the enjoyment, understanding and study of the lives of peoples of Wales, from prehistory to the present day. The fundamental aim is to become a participatory museum which will allow us to get better the more people get involved.St Fagans has established a partnership with Jamtli Foundation in Sweden, which similarly to St Fagans, is an open air museum with historic buildings and exhibitions as well as livestock. During the busy summer months Jamtli transform the site into a 'theme park' where 'actors' animate each building bringing them to life. St Fagans recognise that this process of operating in different modes is one from which we can learn. A Memorandum of Understanding has been drawn up between the two organisations and a programme of job shadowing staff exchanges has been committed to.Both organisations recognise that traditionally non learning focused roles can in fact provide a rich learning experience to the visitor. For example rather than closing an historic building for cleaning it may be possible to keep the building open so the visitor can observe the cleaning process. The member of staff can engage with the visitor explaining the task which they are undertaking. This is a learning experience which may be of interest and enriching to the visitor, but which at present is not available. Through the process of considering what staff roles may be able to interact with the public, to share their experiences in a coherent learning focused way, it is imperative to consider the skills that the staff member may have. For example the cleaner, whilst confident in their abilities in the duties, may feel less confident relaying the importance of the task to the general public. This process of understanding that all members of staff are able to engage with the visitor and increase their learning and awareness has lead to the Sharing and Learning project. Both organisations recognise that some staff will need to be upskilled to have the confidence to share their work duties and their importance with the visitors. The establishment of a job shadowing exchange project will boost the confidence of participants and enthuse them to consider how they can incorporate learning elements into various aspects of the work. This confidence and enthusiasm will cascade through the organisation as they consider potential development opportunities to provide excellent learner engagements.St Fagans National History Museum and Jamtli Foundation are seeking funding for the Sharing and Learning project which will allow 15 staff members from Wales to visit Sweden, during 4 visits, over the course of 2 years. The project will allow staff to experience how a similar museum within Europe operates, giving them the opportunity to consider how to incorporate learning into all elements of the museum's work, and share best practice whilst contemplating the museums role within Europe and wider.
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