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Museum Mentors

Overview

Museum Mentors are museum professionals who help smaller, independent UK museums to work towards and maintain the Accreditation Standard.

A museum without its own in-house museum professional must engage a Museum Mentor to ensure that the museum can achieve Accreditation.

Museum Mentors are appointed by individual museums but have access to various support offered by Museums Galleries Scotland.

Mentors used to be known as Curatorial Advisers.

Role of a Museum Mentor

This is a voluntary role based on a formal agreement between the individual and the museum requiring support. The Mentor's role is to support the governing body of a museum without paid professional staff to develop their service while working to the Accreditation Standard.

The Museum Mentor is required to:

  • conduct an annual Accreditation review
  • attend at least one trustee meeting
  • visit the museum at least once (meeting staff)
  • demonstrate a continuing commitment to CPD relevant to the role

The museum is expected to:

  • formally appoint the Mentor
  • consult with and use the Mentor effectively
  • invite the Mentor to trustee meetings with sufficient notice
  • develop a good working relationship with their Mentor
  • keep the Mentor informed through trustee minutes, other relevant committee minutes, and general mailings and information

To find out more, download the Museum Mentor’s Handbook.

Find a Museum Mentor

You should begin by approaching museum professionals already known to the museum. Someone who’s been supportive in the past may be willing to become your Museum Mentor.

A good place to start may be to consider the other members of networks and forums to which you belong.

If you’re unable to make contact with anyone suitable, we can provide details of suitably qualified candidates.

How to appoint a Museum Mentor

You must let us know when you’ve found someone suitable to act as your Museum Mentor.

We will need to see copies of the:

  • candidate’s CV to confirm that they meet the Accreditation Scheme criteria of a museum professional  
  • signed agreement between the candidate and your museum
  • minuted agreement of your governing body, formally approving the appointment

You can find a template agreement in the Museum Mentor’s Handbook.

For further advice on appointing a Museum Mentor, contact us.

Become a Museum Mentor

Volunteering as a Museum Mentor is a great way to tap into continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities. It’s also a chance to broaden your experience and networks beyond the focus of your day job.

As a Museum Mentor, you must sign off the Accreditation Scheme application of the museum you support. This is a formal role and you must meet certain criteria to be eligible to apply.

You must have:

  • at least five years’ experience working professionally in museums, with recent experience at curator or manager level
  • at least three years of this experience should relate to organisational health, collections, or users and their experiences
  • a relevant or linked qualification
  • a commitment to career-long CPD, either via formal channels (e.g. Associateship of the Museums Association) or by logging relevant activity on your CV

How to apply

If you meet the above criteria, simply complete the Museum Mentor expression of interest form. Then return it to our Quality Assurance Manager at the address given on the form.

Potential Mentors are kept informed of any opportunities from museums seeking to appoint a Museum Mentor.

Teamwork

A Museum Mentor need not work alone to support the museum. You are encouraged to take advantage of your extended network to help on specific areas or bring relevant expertise into the museum in other ways. We would also encourage you to assist the museum in developing their own networks of support.

Accreditation covers all aspects of a museum’s business. So it’s unlikely that a single individual will have all of the necessary professional skills to advise on each area with the same level of expertise.

Support for Museum Mentors

Museums Galleries Scotland offers various support to Museum Mentors appointed by individual museums in Scotland.

Our sessions give Museum Mentors a chance to network and develop the skills and knowledge they will need to fulfil their role successfully.

We’ll contact all Museum Mentors direct to let them know about forthcoming events. We will also post the relevant details on this page.

Potential Mentors are kept informed of any opportunities from museums seeking to appoint a Museum Mentor.

Do you have any specific training requests or ideas? Contact us now.

Contact

You can contact our Quality Assurance Manager for advice on any aspect of the role of Museum Mentors.

Jenny Youngson
Quality Assurance Manager
Telephone: 0131 550 4124
Email: jennifery@museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk