Posted by: Michael Russell | July 12, 2011

Life at the British Museum!

Greetings Careering Ahead followers!!

It has been a while since my last post; apologies to my large (not!) fan base of followers eagerly awaiting with anticipation for what I might write about next. What is better than being able to write about the British Museum and my time at the Numismatics (study of coins) Summer School. I discovered the summer school in a large amount of emails that I receive about various events, courses and other bits of information that often gets deleted; so I applied.

A Fantastic Place to Work

The application process was straight forward, send a CV, covering letter and reference and I discovered that being passionate and knowledgable raised my application above most people. I won’t bore you with what to put on a CV and covering letter as it’s been well covered by previous blogs and follow bloggers, however I will tell you all about what I am getting from the experience:

  • Having the British Museum on my CV is going to look fabulous for my career and will put me ahead of many rival candidates for a museum type role. TAKE THESE OPPORTUNITES WHEN THEY COME ALONG!!!!
  • I am learning more on an intensive 2 week course then I have throughout many single modules at University making me more knowledgable about coins.
  • It gives me another possible area that I can specialize in, giving my career direction more focus.
  • I am creating a network of friends, people I know in the British Museum and wider academic world.
  • I am out of the comfort zone of being in Newcastle to being in a city like London and that has only had a positive effect making me more willing to take up opportunities throughout the country.
  • Learning how to create an exhibition that the public will want to stop and look at; we actually get to create our own display!! that the public will see!!! so if you’re at the British Museum look out for the Roman Coin section that deals with the use of images on coins as statements or propaganda.
  • Great food; the British Museum have the best staff canteen EVER!!

 I could of course bore you with lots of information about coins; but I shall resist!! instead I shall say that if these opportunities come up take them, apply and the worst that can happen is they say no. GO FOR IT!!! and be PASSIONATE about what you would like to do.

My work at Beamish Museum is also going well; currently doing a FREE NVQ in Customer Service. Companies will often give their employees the chance to gain qualifications and if they are free; take them! why not!!

Live Long and Prosper Blog readers



  1. Hello, I am a student of Byzantine Studies at Birmingham. I am very glad to see someone talking about coins course at the British Museum. All you had described seemed to be a really superb experience handling the coins. I am also insterested in numismatics. When in a year they will release information on application and where could I find them?

    • Hello, Coins tend to be covered very little on Byzantine Archaeology courses so there is an oppotunity for someone to fill that gap. The course runs un July for 2 weeks and if it is ok I can email you the contact details so you can get the exact information from the British Museum coin people? are you interested in doing more on numismatics? on the coin course you will of course have to sit in on lectures on Roman and Greek coins as well as Byzantine but all very useful.

      • That will be great if you could provide details of contact. And thank you for the information. Shall I leave my mail address in the comment? (I am very very happy to hear from someone who is also interested in coins.) I am interested in later period of Byzantine history especially after the Fourth Crusade. Thanks again.

      • heresmy email. just drop me a email and ill reply with some details about how to find out about the next summer schoolin numismatics, i suspect the application process won’t start until April/May 2012. and maybe we can talk more about coins if u have any questions.

  2. Hiya, I’m applying this year and was wondering on how do you think I could make my cover letter stand out?

    • Hello, wow i thought people had stopped reading my account as I have long since left University. When I applied I focused on how the course would benefit my research/dissertation and explained what my dissertation was about. The course will teach you how to read coins.

  3. Thanks for responding Michael, that was very nice of you 🙂 Impressive that your post is still generating comment so long after you wrote it!

    • Thank you, I only spotted it because I had an email notification. It’s quite interesting reading back on all my thoughts and ideas. I am now a Site Manager for English Heritage at Aydon Castle and I still volunteer now and again with Roman coins. So nothing I have done at Uni has been wasted.

  4. Fantastic – glad to hear your experience paid off!

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