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Museum & Gallery Skills (Cultural Heritage) Level 3 Diploma at Kendal College

Course description

Kendal Museum is a long established and accredited museum with exceptional natural history and archaeology collections. As a department of Kendal College the museum is able to offer a very rare opportunity to gain an occupational qualification in a working museum that is open to the public.

On this busy course you will be asked to do the great range of museum tasks that museum staff are called upon to do including: Preparing for talks, filling spreadsheets, cleaning porcupine needles and Samian bowls to emptying bug traps, writing labels and helping the visitors and students. You will work alongside, and are trained by, museum professionals giving you the opportunity to work with unique collections that cannot handled by the public.

As level 3 trainees you will be expected to take some independent initiative and responsibility for planning and delivery under the overall supervision of curators.

At least three days a week must be given to museum work and training.

Aspects of the course can be tailored to your personal occupational needs.

From September 2016 you will be able to study a package of qualifications which includes an NVQ in Museum and Gallery Skills, alongside A Levels chosen from a wide range, and including; Archaeology, History, Photography, and English.  A Levels will also be available as stand alone qualifications.

This course will be part of a wider study programme, which may also include english & maths, work placement and additional studies.

Course content

On this ‘hands on’ course you will be given an occupational role and the skills you learn and use will then be assessed. There is also an emphasis on self- reflection, team working and the development of your own learning within the requirements of the qualification.

All students will learn about basic collection care and presentation, care of the museum environment, marketing and safety for yourselves, colleagues and the public.

Dependent on your work role there could be a greater emphasis for some trainees on customers and outreach and for others on cataloguing.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 5 GCSE’s A-C, including English, and significant working or volunteering experience in the cultural heritage sector. A strong desire to work in an applied way within the sector, in careful ‘hands on’ work, on the running of public building and an interest in history and/or natural history.


You will be assessed through the collection of evidence showing that you have become competent in the full range of required skills. This evidence could be through a report from a witness, observation by assessors, written assignments, recorded answers to questions or the creation of materials. You will collect together your evidence and relate it to set of criteria which are the national standard for the qualification.

Future opportunities

For those working or volunteering in the cultural heritage sector wanting to gain a qualification that recognises their skills to enable professional progression, this provides a rare occupation based opportunity.

For those with academic qualifications who wish to increase their employability this provides a structured and validated experience of work in a public museum.

Our students have gone on to become a museum visitor services manager, to do further specialised academic study, work within the sector in a variety of roles including front of house and on funded museum collection projects and in heritage outreach.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Kendal College directly.

Last updated date: 20 April 2016
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Key information


  • More information
    • Kendal College manages Kendal Museum as part of a ten-year partnership agreement with South Lakeland District Council. The Museum has submitted a Heritage Lottery bid of over £½ million to invest in the museum and its exhibits. For more information about Kendal Museum see their website.

      Kendal’s first museum was formed in 1796 by William Todhunter who exhibited a collection of fossils, plants, minerals, animals and antiques.

      In 1835 the Kendal Literary and Scientific Society took over the museum.
      The society included among its members Dr Thomas Gough, Professor Adam Sedgwick, John Ruthven and Dr John Dalton. As the collection grew, the
      Museum had to be rehoused several times.

      In the early 1900s money problems forced the sale of some exhibits, the rest were offered to the town. In 1913 the current building – formerly a wool warehouse – was offered to the Town Council for the purposes of housing the museum.

      After World War One the collections were moved to the new building and the museum was run by a series of honorary curators on behalf of the Town Council. One of these curators included Alfred Wainwright, the famous guide book author and fellwalker, who gave up his spare time for 30 years to look after the collections