InternPlus Insights: My experience as an intern with UoA Museums and Special Collections
2022-03-07

I am a digital content developer for UoA Museums and Special Collections as part of this year’s InternPlus programme. Over the last few months, I have been creating video content for the library and museum’s social media pages. Developing an engaged audience has been particularly important while the various museums have been preparing to reopen after the pandemic. This blog will explain a bit about what I have been doing, so read on if you are interested in the programme, applying for a similar role, or just curious!

Check out the Library and Special Collections' latest video celebrating World Book Day! 

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A post shared by Museums and Collections at UoA (@uoacollections)

 

On my first day, I met several people from the public engagement team, and was struck by how much my role was part of an even wider network — there are a lot more people behind the scenes of a museum than you might think! I expected to be working independently, and while I have often done so throughout my internship, I have discovered that museums rely heavily on communication across all staff areas. Everyone has different expertise, and it is normal to ask for help with locating something or finding further information. No one expects you to know everything about every object in the museum!

My role allows me a huge amount of freedom around the kind of videos I create, and I have appreciated being able to explore lots of different ideas and discuss which ones to take forward with my manager. The high quality of museum content on social media can often feel daunting, but the process of making a video becomes much easier if you make it about something you are really interested in. There is so much creative potential in a library and in a museum, with so many interesting objects and stories on offer once you know how to find them. Shorter videos usually do the best in terms of engagement, so it is important to get the right balance of information and length, without losing the educational factor.

One setback I had was a video that didn’t do so well on Instagram and got much less than the normal number of views, but I used this opportunity to learn more about the algorithm, and most importantly, to build the resilience to keep going, and keep creating! Getting to grips with Adobe Premiere Pro and other editing apps was also initially a bit of a challenge, but I kept experimenting and after about the first month and a half, I had developed a concrete editing process which really worked for me. The visual nature of my internship means it is easy to see my progress as my editing skills have grown and improved since the beginning.

A still from the George Washington Wilson outdoor photography exhibitionA still from the George Washington Wilson outdoor photography exhibition video

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A post shared by Museums and Collections at UoA (@uoacollections)

 

 One of the highlights of the whole internship was getting to go to the library storerooms and seeing all  the old, beautiful books, of which the library has so many rare and special editions. I got to go to  the storerooms of Marischal Museum on several occasions, as well as film the first night of an outdoor  photography exhibition. Through researching objects, I have learnt so much about history, particularly  Scottish history, as well as lots about museums themselves; how they work, categorise things, and fit  into the bigger picture of society.

Though the role is largely online and self-directed, I always feel as though I am part of a supportive and busy team. It is easy to ask for feedback or for help with a new idea, and I’m really grateful for how seriously the team takes my position, and how friendly everyone is. Huge thanks to my manager, Christina, who has been very helpful throughout! This position has really helped me to understand what I’d like to do in the future, and I will definitely be taking forward all the knowledge I have gained over these past few months into my next job.

Published by Students, University of Aberdeen

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