Learning on the Job

John Muir’s Birthplace

As a sixth year student from the Berwickshire High School, I spent this week on work experience at the John Muir’s Birthplace and the John Gray Centre in East Lothian. I got to experience what it is like to work in these places while also having the opportunity to see and learn about lots of historical things.

I saw the behind the scenes of many different job roles surrounding museums, such as general work in the museum, planning exhibitions and events, talks, working in collections and archives and also maintaining and updating the museums. All of these jobs were more complicated than I originally thought. There are many things I didn’t think about when it comes to running a museum, like the many different skills that are necessary. The most unexpected skills I saw utilised were design skills, that needed to be used on the image of the museums.

The main thing I had the opportunity to learn about was John Muir and his legacy and how his story is told through the John Muir’s Birthplace museum. Working in the museum involves taking tours and talks, organising events and exhibitions, working on maintaining the museum and also office work. This job involves a lot of flexibility and the need to be able to adapt to change which is something I didn’t originally consider when I signed up for this work experience placement.

This week has helped me to discover that I would like to work in an office, mainly because I enjoy being organised and planning. Office work was something I got to see at the Dunbar Town House and John Gray Centre, where some of the things they did there was research and planning things. I also discovered that my main skills are in gathering information, which is something I learned from being in the museums, surrounded by information.