Special Blog: Working as an Intern at the Museum

Special Blog: #MuseumFromHome

For #MuseumFromHome Day which takes place on Thursday 30th April 2020, we thought we would bring a special blog written by our intern Emilia Bazydlo giving an insight into what it’s like to work at The Peace Museum.

“My name is Emilia Bazydlo, I study History of Art at University of Leeds, and I’m currently on my placement year at The Peace Museum.

I first thought of a placement year as a chance to develop my professional skills in the museum setting and to help me discover what I enjoy doing, pointing me to a more precise career direction. I’m happy to say, that my expectations have been met!

I started my 12 months in July 2019 as a general museum intern. I help with number of tasks across the museum: from assisting with caring for the collection to the front-of-house role. You might have also read my previous blog posts related to various events or objects. Generally, while working at The Peace Museum I gained a good understanding of how small independent museums work and what challenges they face in many segments of their activity, giving me broader picture that I probably wouldn’t be able to get working in a bigger organisation.

While I first came to the museum I was mostly interested in education, however during my placement I discovered that tasks related to managing collections suit my personality much better and that this is what I enjoy and get most satisfaction from. The work involves development, storage, and preservation of collections, for example description and creating data entries for new objects, auditing collections, i.e. verifying the physical presence of each chosen object and the accuracy of associated information. Essentially, tasks related to collection management give clarity as to what resources the museum has in its disposal and help to make good use from collections. It is necessary that the information about objects are accurate and easy to navigate. It thought me to be precise and careful. As a result, I developed a sense of discipline and responsibility.

As my job often involves working directly with objects or museum’s database, I have access to wealth of items related to peace movements etc. Having background in art practice and art history, I wasn’t initially very interested in the subject, but as time went on, I found myself looking with more interest on objects and stories behind them. An important part of the shift in my attitude was doing research for future exhibitions and writing blogs, as well as enthusiasm of the museum staff, volunteers and visitors. Working with collections of The Peace Museum and meeting various people who are passionate about peace-making and about work they’re doing, changed the way I look on not only on peace and conflict, but also on museums in general, ethics, activism and various other matters. It is also rewarding, to see research done getting closer to a tangible shape of an exhibition or made accessible to the public in other way, e.g. as a blog post.

Overall, the internship at The Peace Museum is very gratifying. This experience gave me a sense of what to expect in museum-related career, thought me to approach my tasks differently, as well as familiarised myself with broader range of concepts.”

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