Audiences and Volunteers at the BM (Elizabeth Alvarado, Peru, ITP 2023)

Written by Elizabeth Alvarado, Cultural Manager and Museum Specialist, Ministry of Culture (Peru, ITP 2023)

Hola! This is Elizabeth Alvarado from Peru. I have worked at the Ministry of Culture of Peru as a cultural project manager in the General Directorate of Museums since 2019.

I work within a range of topics and issue solving; thus, I am excited to learn during the ITP about diverse topics such as collections, curation, education, and audiences. I am aiming to learn about different realities and problem solving best practices from the BM, the UK partners, and my fellow colleagues.

Among my interests are audiences and diversity thus, the Audience and Volunteer sessions were really thrilling and interesting to me on both a professional and personal level.

During the day, we had presentations from the Head of Interpretation and Volunteers, Learning and National Partnerships, as well as the Volunteer Manager and Coordinator, and the Head of Learning and National Programmes; which all gave magnificent presentations sharing know-how, data, and internal processes.

As part of the audience session, we did an audience experience task in which we were given a specific scenario to follow from a visitor perspective. While navigating the museum, we came across one of the Hands On Desk platforms and talked to the volunteer about specific experiences for children.

Later that day, during the volunteer session, we experienced the Hands On Desk from another perspective. We tried to put ourselves in a volunteer role, figuring out how we would handle the objects and what we might say to start an interaction with visitors.

At the end of the sessions, I mentioned that I was interested in learning more about the volunteer recruitment and training process; luckily for me, that same day there was a Hands On Desk volunteer training; and my fellow colleague Rucha Vibhute and I were able to attend the training to observe how the session was conducted.

This last session helped me to understand better how the Hands On Desk experience is an integral process in the museum, since at the end of the day I was given the chance to experience the offering from the perspective of the visitors, volunteers, and staff.  All which I find very useful for my job back at home.

I’m very grateful for the sessions about the audience and volunteers and just want to especially thank the volunteer staff: Megan, Sophie and Lizie, who allowed me to attend the session that was not part of the ITP Program. Muchas Gracias!

As part of my curiosity in audiences and diversity, I also went to the Celebrating Pride community partner event (closed to the public), hosted to celebrate and champion LGBTQ histories and identities at the BM.

To finish this blog entry I will introduce the next writer: Kirikara Koraua, Assistant Museum Curator at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kiribati. She is interested in working with communities and cultural knowledge holders and I’m very glad that we will both travel together to Glasgow for the UK partner placement.