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Ministry Resources for Museum People

Here at the Ministry we love to share our knowledge. We've had to make our own way in the museum world so we know exactly how you feel- lost finding job adverts, puzzled by the industries acronyms, and slowly realised that (unfortunately) there are more museum databases than MIMSY. So to make it easier for you all just starting out or moving into the sector, we've pulled together a list of handy resources that we think every museum professional needs.

Job Listings 
Getting a job in a museum is no easy feat (check out our ‘How to get a museum job’ page for more from the Ministry). The following websites have been essential in our search for paid and volunteer positions within the sector. Remember to check them regularly!

Leicester Museum Studies job page - Just one guy updates this page every Thursday. It has a selection of museum jobs from around the world, listing volunteer roles to Director Vacancies.

Museum Jobs Predominantly listing jobs around the UK, with an occasional international job advertised.

National Museum Jobs- As it says on the tin, National Museum jobs listed here.

Guardian Jobs - A wide range of jobs across private and national museums and galleries. Sometimes allusive it’s a great resource to check out.

Ideas Tap - Mainly arts jobs sometimes you can find some hidden gems.

Arts Council England - Yet again predominantly features jobs in art institutions.

Looking after heritage is a complex task for every member of the museum, but when it comes to collections Museums have not only their policies to follow but also more legal regulations than you can shake a stick at. There are numerous institutions guiding museums on legalities and providing spaces for guidance, discussion and assistance.

Museums Association(MA) - The Museums Association is the paramount institution in the sector, a membership based association it provides training and guidance to museum professionals regardless of status. Becoming a member is essential and the best way to learn about current affairs.

Collections Trust - is an organisation that works with museums, galleries and libraries that aims to improve the management of their collections. Its baby is the Collections Link (See below).

Collections Link  - is the Collections Trust resource for those museum professionals working in the collections. The website provides a space for discussion, market intelligence, practices and programmes. Collections Link most importantly hosts Spectrum – a collections management standard, Spectrum is a recognised set of rules for documenting museums collections.

DCMS  - Department for Culture, Sport and Media. This is the governmental department that looks after Museums and Galleries, their role is to make promote and protect Britain’s Heritage. It’s always handy to know about the current Secretary of state and their objectives. Currently Maria Miller is the Secretary of State for DCMS supported by Ed Vaizey.

Arts Council is a non-departmental public body of Department of Culture, Sport and Media. The organisation is dedicated to promoting visual, performance and literary arts in England.

ICOM is the International Congress of Museum they aim to preserve the world’s natural and cultural heritage with communication, conservation and continuation, they also maintain a strong relationship with through UNESCO.

HLF – Heritage Lottery Fund uses money raised through the National Lottery to give grants to numerous heritage organisations including Museums ‘to sustain and transform our heritage’

Collection Specific sites
For many people working in collections it might be a good idea to join one of the subject specialist networks. Any interest under the sun seems to have one, but here are just a few suggestions.
Mission Statements Policies and Procedures
It is important to be aware of the relevant institutions mission statements (they can be found on the websites listed above) and be aware of any news. In addition each museum has its own Mission Statement, policies and procedures, if working in or aiming to work in a certain institution we highly recommend being aware of their objectives.

Important legislation
Legislation relating to Museums and their collections are plentiful, here are a few key documents that relate to collections:
Also important Codes of Ethics and Conduct are provided by the Museums Association and ICOM.

Now this is something you really should know about if you want to work in a museum, the museum's collections management database’s are software where all of the information about a museums collection. From records on its acquisition to its current location databases run the core of the museum.

There are plenty of Collections Management databases out there: some are used by many museums whilst others are specific to an institution:
  • Mimsy XG used by many national institutions.
  • Modes tends to be used by smaller organisations
  • Adlib used often for archives but equally for museums
  •  TMS frequently found in art collections 
  •  KEmu 
  • CALM used often by council museums and historic homes

Social Media
Never underestimate the power of social media. Follow you’re favourite museums, like the institutions we’ve listed and read up on arts and culture news pages, try to interact with them, find out about events and join groups.  Check out Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Keep up to date with articles and news items. It's always a good idea to keep a finger on the pulse and be aware of current debates and issues in the industry. 

We suggest: 
London Museum Group's disccussion on early career Museum professionals 
Rethinking Museum Training by Rachel Souhami 
The Low Down on Life as an Early Career Museum Professional by Rachel Souhami

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