Knowledge Exchange

Sharing knowledge and expertise is vital to sustaining an effective cultural heritage sector.

Knowledge Exchange is a national programme developed by the British Museum and generously supported by the Vivmar Foundation since 2010. It enables the British Museum to partner with a diverse range of museums, galleries and heritage organisations across the UK, supporting staff to share knowledge, skills and best practice and promoting their individual professional development.

Investing in people, supporting organisations.

The Knowledge Exchange programme has been developed over the years with an ethos of collaboration, openness and flexibility. Designed to support the museum sector to respond to current challenges, the programme creates professional exchanges for museum staff of any specialism and at any level.

Each year colleagues from the British Museum and five partner organisations undertake a bespoke, fully-funded five-day exchange. The aims of the placements are to:

  • Develop individual and organisational knowledge and/or skills
  • Help build relationships between organisations
  • Provide insight into and gain exposure to specific areas of museum working
  • Shape sustainable methods for sharing knowledge and skills across the sector.

Knowledge Exchange 2018

The British Museum is pleased to be working with five UK partner organisations for this year’s Knowledge Exchange:

  • Gallery Oldham
  • Jersey Heritage
  • Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
  • Museum of East Anglian Life
  • York Archaeological Trust

Long-term success stories: Knowledge Exchange evaluation 2010-2018

This year the British Museum commissioned an independent evaluation report to assess the longer-term impact for Knowledge Exchange participants since the programme’s inception. The evaluation found that:

"For participants from the British Museum and partner organisations, the Knowledge Exchange programme has contributed substantially to participants’ learning, both about their placement subject and about the principles of knowledge exchange as a form of personal and professional development."

This was achieved in four key ways:

  • Developing knowledge sharing and collaborative skills
  • Growing participants' confidence
  • Providing time for reflection
  • Increasing motivation

The full evaluation report and case studies are now available. The British Museum National Programmes team hope that the principles and methodology of Knowledge Exchange will help inform and inspire similar practice amongst other UK institutions. Enquiries and suggestions are welcome; please contact Georgia Mallin, Knowledge Share Programme Manager.

"My experience during my exchange at the British Museum exceeded my expectations and hopes. I returned to my museum not only with new ideas and insights but also with increased confidence in what we already offer at our museum and a fresh inspiration to adapt and develop our activity."

Knowledge Exchange participants

"It was a pleasure to be a part of a another museum, if only for a week, as I believe that learning more about the UK museum and heritage sector will allows us a better understanding of the British Museum’s wider role in the UK, and how it interacts with other institutions, big and small."