This winter we hosted a virtual placement - Petra Kisgergely, a third-year archaeology student at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness. During the placement Petra researched and curated an online exhibition. In this blog post she reflects on her experience.
As a third-year archaeology student at the University of the Highlands and Islands, I was given the opportunity to complete a placement of my choice during the first semester. As I have always been drawn more towards the heritage sector within archaeology, I have chosen to do my placement at my local museum. However, due to the global pandemic, they were unable to take me on. Fortunately, my module leader, Scott Timpany, was able to organise a virtual placement for me at Stromness Museum in Orkney. Knowing that I would still be able to gain some work experience despite everything that was going on in the world, was a huge weight off my mind. I was put in contact with Siobhan Cooke, Collections Manager at the museum, who had set up an exciting project for me. I was given the task of putting together a short online exhibition based on the museum’s collection. I was given a free hand in choosing the focus of my exhibition. Having spent some time on the museum’s website, I decided to do the project on Orcadian Neolithic maceheads. The museum had two beautifully worked and very well-preserved examples that I featured within the exhibition. Along with carrying out the required research for the project, I had to deepen my understanding of the heritage sector, especially the rules and regulations that apply to museums.
The placement itself was a very unique opportunity, which allowed me to gain some insight into what it is like to work within the heritage sector. This was very important to me as one of the main things I had hoped to get out of this experience was reassurance regarding my future career path. As it was a virtual placement, all the meetings and feedback sessions took place via video conference calls and emails, which also developed my digital communication skills. This was also an important asset of the placement. In today’s world, having the skills and confidence required for virtual communication within a professional setting is very valuable. Other transferable skills that this placement has enhanced included time management, research skills and project design.
I very much enjoyed my placement at Stromness Museum, and I feel very fortunate to have worked on an online exhibition. I felt challenged and motivated during my placement. This experience has contributed greatly to my future studies and my employability. Overall, it has been an amazing experience.
Visit Petra's exhibition Neolithic Maceheads in Orkney here.