Registrars: Training for the Future

The Registrars’ Training for the Future Programme was launched in 2010 to help fill a gap in formal training for museum registrars. It saw the coming together of experts in collections management from the Royal Armouries, Leeds Museums and Galleries and the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds.

Alongside its founding partners, the programme is supported by Arts Council England and Crown Fine Art and has many benefits for both the trainees and the partners involved.

Museum registrars are often described as the conscience of the museum and hold a huge amount of responsibility, managing multiple risks with the potential to be reputationally damaging (including legal, ethical and financial risks). Yet museum registrars, despite picking up knowledge and experience from many sources, are generally not formally trained for this specific role.

By enabling our trainees to become part of our Masters programmes at the University of Leeds, they not only receive a postgraduate certificate, but also act as advocates for the importance of the role of the registrar amongst the other students on our large, international programmes.

Trainees engage with practice and theory, and are encouraged to open up critical questions about the job of the registrar. Studying in the classroom alongside completing projects in museums and galleries has enabled this, and led to changes in practice as a result of their questions.

Since launching in 2010, all former trainees have continued to work in the museum and cultural sector.

We now look forward to the next phase, building on the programme to offer accredited training for early and mid-career registrars and collections managers.