CHIP augments the theoretical understanding of museums and heritage, exhibitions and collections in the preparatory coursework through the practical experience gained by a placement in a heritage institution. CHIP enriches individual study programs across the LAS spectrum. This extra dimension includes working with highly qualified museum/ heritage professionals, often academics, and gaining insight into the work of heritage organizations. Practical insight can also provide material for further scholarly elaboration in the research thesis.
All UCU students who have successfully taken the preparatory courses (HAR22 and HAR32), in combination with a range of tracks. The placement (if abroad) is best scheduled in the summer after the second year, or (if in the Netherlands) during the fifth semester.
For participation in the Cultural Heritage Program (CHIP): UCHUMHAR22 Museum Studies + UCHUMHAR32 Heritage + any relevant level 3 course in Humanities, Science or Social Science.
"During my final summer as a UCU student, I did a volunteer placement with the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, of the British Museum. I was particularly interested in learning how such an esteemed institution as the British Museum copes with the challenges of globalization in the everyday work of collection management and research. My research thesis had focused on the expansion of the art world and how globalization has impacted on the production, consumption, institutionalization and representation of art. Following my thesis with immersion in the practical tasks of AOA added a vital new dimension to my theoretical knowledge, while allowing me to contribute my research skills to the work of the museum.
One of the main tasks I undertook was biographical research into the acquisition history of the Americas collection. The research skills developed during my time at UCU and the resources in the museum enabled me to confidently and independently track down virtually anonymous donors and collectors. This information will contribute to the Museum’s online database so that it becomes available to the public. Another one of our bigger assignments was to aid with the relocation of a collection of Ghanaian brass gold-weights. This task introduced me to the dynamics of object handling, documentation and conservation.
Volunteers and interns are greatly valued by the British Museum. My supervisor at the Museum made sure to engage us in a manner where both the museum and the interns could get the most out of the opportunity. Going into the experience with a focus on what I wanted to observe augmented the knowledge I had developed over the last three years. The internship helped to solidify what I had been exposed to academically and laid a strong foundation for post-graduate studies." Charlotte Wittesaele at the British Museum (AOA) – summer 2015 (Class of 2015, HUM Major)
British Museum, Department of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
"The Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas appreciates the contributions made by UCU student volunteers to documentation and collection management tasks at the British Museum. We recognise that the future of the universal museum lies in the hands of the young people of today. We find it important that properly prepared young people learn about museum practice from the inside. We subscribe to CHIP’s goals."