In April we welcomed Kelly Lau, a second year student from the University of Reading, to the Museum for a two week placement. In this guest blog post Kelly talks about her experience at the Museum.
I feel very lucky to have been part of the Public Engagement team for two weeks, helping them research the collections and create content and ideas for the Museum’s social media channels (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook). Without any previous experience writing social media posts this was challenging but exciting at the same time.
People might think writing a social media post is simple, but it does take time if you do not know your museum and audience well. Before planning any social media content I started by researching the History of Science Museum and its audience. This gave me an idea of the Museum’s tone of voice and the target audience on different social media platforms. I also followed other museums’ social media platforms, which gave me suggestions and ideas on how to encourage online audience engagement.
I realised I really enjoyed planning and writing social media posts (you can see some of content I wrote in the pictures above). This has raised my interest in researching how museums can engage their audiences by using social media. Since there are lots of people using social media nowadays, online platforms have potential for museum learning and engagement. A good creative social media post can attract new audiences to visit museums or even join museum events.
Another task I did was to help add exhibition content to the Museum’s collections database. This was my first time using the collections management system EMu. Without any previous practical experience in using the database it was quite tricky at first. But practice make perfect, and I soon found myself becoming more confident using it. I was also given the opportunity to attend meetings with staff from across all of the University’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums. This “behind the scenes” experience benefited me a lot, and helped me understand how the Public Engagement team cooperates with other departments across the Museum and University, manages projects and develops programmes and events for different audiences.
As a Museum Studies and Archaeology student who wants to pursue a career in the museum or heritage sector, it was an unforgettable experience to work at the Museum surrounded by lovely people, museum enthusiasts, historical scientific instruments and architecture. The placement provided an insight into the daily life of working in a museum and also helped me identify my skills and know myself better. I am now quite sure what kind of museum work I might like to do in the future!
Finally, I would like to thank my supervisor Robyn Haggard (Public Engagement Officer) and other colleagues for their warmth and kindness throughout my placement in the Museum. I always felt welcomed and supported and was given opportunities to try new things.
by Kelly Lau