My Career Ready Internship
Charlotte talks about her experience as a intern at Museums Galleries Scotland through the Career Ready programme.
An intro to my internship
MGS was a great place to work. I have a flexible work arrangement which means I could work in the office or work from home, everyone was very welcoming, none of my questions were left unanswered, and I could choose what I wanted to do with my time. But most importantly there were complimentary cups of tea. I did my internship over four weeks, over which time I worked with the Marketing & Communications department and the Grants team.
MGS is not what I predicted: I got to work with museums all over Scotland, analysed museum social media accounts, created my own social media content, got a behind-the-scenes view of how museums apply and receive grants, and even got to visit some museums. This blog goes into more detail about what I got up to over the four weeks of my internship.
Orientation and skills development
When I first arrived I needed to get set up with my own laptop and signed in to all the different platforms and tools MGS used. This turned out to be a very long ordeal with a couple of bumps in the road.
After all the signing in and re-signing in and emails to the IT department I was finally ready to start my internship. During my orientation I learnt about patience and perseverance but I also learnt about MGS and what they do as a organisation.
During my third week I had a meeting with Markus, the Skills Development Manager, who gave me advice about my future. During the meeting I learnt how to make a CV and how to answer interview questions.
During my internship I got the chance to visit two museums and take some photos and then edit them. Some of these photos are in this blog.
Beyond the Little Black Dress
I visited the Beyond the Little Black Dress exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. This exhibition showcases a range of older and more modern examples of Little Black Dresses and displays the broad and unlimited uses of black from polite dresses of the early 20th century to unique catwalk pieces. I enjoyed this exhibition seeing how the same black looked so different on the different mannequins due to the design and silhouette of the dresses.
National Mining Museum Scotland
I visited the National Mining Museum Scotland which is located inside of the Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange, one of the best preserved Victorian collieries in Europe. They have over 100,000 items in their collections which showcase the social, economic, political and cultural impact of the mining community in Scotland and the advances made in engineering, science and technology that can be credited to the mining industry.
This visit was important to me because I live in an ex-mining village myself and it relates directly to the history of my home. I also have visited the museum before but not for a long time so it was interesting to see what was the same and what had changed since my last visit.
When I was introduced to the Grants department I started by reading some grant applications made by museums. Then I sat in on a meeting where they were approving or denying these applications. This gave me an understanding of how museums get the money for all the projects and events that they do and the information and preparation that the museums have to provide when applying for a grant.
Fair Work First policy
The Fair Work First policy was introduced at the start of July. It is a policy making sure that workers are treated correctly. I sat in on the meeting reviewing the assessment process of the Museum Development Fund after the introduction of this policy.
I received access to MGS Online, which is where all the grants are processed. I got to see the applications and the reports that are made after museums receive their grants. I got to see the impact of these projects.
Alt text is an alternative text – hence the name – which is used by screen readers when they encounter an image. This helps visually impaired individuals have greater accessibility when using the internet. I got to write some of my own alt text for some images for the website.
When writing alt text it is important to remember not to make assumptions: if I took a photo of Edinburgh Castle, I can’t just say ‘Edinburgh Castle’ for the alt text because people might not know what it is or what it looks like. You also can’t make assumptions on people’s race and gender when writing alt text.
Image Selection for home page
I selected this month’s image for the MGS website homepage. When I was choosing the image I learnt the importance of showing diversity through these images and how there are many ways to do this, like through location, type of museum, the people visiting the museum and the workforce behind the scenes.
Museum map images
I found museums on the MGS museum map which didn’t have photos and searched for them on Wikimedia Commons and Flickr. During this I gained knowledge about Creative Commons and how to give credit when using images.
Museum of Fire Heritage Scotland
The Museum of Fire Heritage Scotland recently opened so I wrote a description of the museum and added it to the MGS museum map. I learnt how to write in a professional tone for the website and how the website worked. I also contacted the museum to acquire some images from them so they could be used for the website.
End of internship presentation
I created a PowerPoint presentation on what I did over my internship. I then presented it to Rose from Career Ready, my mentor Lizzy, and my two supervisors, Joe and Emily. I also adapted that presentation into this blog which you are reading now.
My final thoughts
I really enjoyed my internship here and I would gladly do another. I think my favourite thing were the museum visits and finding images for the MGS museum map. I enjoyed my visits to the museums because I learnt about so much while I was there, and I liked searching for images because I found it quite methodical and surprisingly relaxing due to the regular processes involved in this task.
One of my least favourite things about the internship was having to sit still for long periods of time during meetings! It was also disappointing to only find a couple of resources for South Asian Heritage Month, even though I spent a good chunk of time searching for content. But these things were not anybody’s fault.
Everyone at MGS was so kind to me and I felt very welcomed to the organisation: so for that, thank you.