Careers Advice: Networks and memberships

Networks to join that all career starters should know about

Interested in a career in Scotland’s past?  There are lots of networks out there full of people ready to help you get a step up in your career! In this post, we look at the heritage in turn as well as other sectors that are linked (some of which you may not have thought of). Some networks invovle paid memberships, with benefits such as journals, while others are free to join or have a low annual fee that goes towards admin and events.  Blog post author Rebecca Boyde has joined these networks, either professionally or personally – and added some of her own thoughts.


Museums Galleries Scotland supports Scotland’s museum sector, including with Geographic Museum Forums – use the link to find one near you!

Museums Freelance Network is ‘a volunteer-run network set up to support and champion freelancers and consultants working with museums, galleries, archives, libraries, and heritage sites’.

the Museums Association (MA) is the oldest museums association in the world.  Rebecca says: ‘I get a lot of worth from the information in the members-only area of their website.’

Informal Learning

…takes place outside of the classroom. More information on Informal Learning is in Infed’s blog post here.

Some heritage and heritage learning groups and networks are free, and some have a yearly membership and/or event fees. Check out:

Keep an eye on Museums Galleries Scotland’s webpage for their upcoming ‘Strategic Learning Platform’.

 Engage Scotland ‘responding to training and networking needs within gallery education in Scotland’

Heritage Education Forum (HEF)  is made up of members in Scotland from across museums, heritage institutions, historical properties, built heritage organisations, and many more! HEF is free to join and attend.

Members are freelancers, as well as learning officers and managers from 38 organisations, including Archaeology Scotland, National Museums Scotland, National Galleries Scotland, Engage, Royal Collections Trust, Historic Environment Scotland, National Records of Scotland, and many more.

Our aims: Together we interpret, conserve, enable and promote access to our collections, historical and natural environments and buildings…

-to share information and best practice

-to establish active partnerships across the heritage sector

-to ensure more effective uses of resources for all learners

-to promote and increase access to heritage learning

Members’ benefits

-networking and support base via email, our closed Facebook group, meetings and subgroups

-group email list

-meet twice a year, usually January and June

-a chance to visit our members’ interesting workplaces!

-free to attend (tickets via Eventbrite)

-find notes from our previous meetings in our shared Google docs folder

To join, contact the Chair at The current chair (until Jan 2020) is Becca Boyde.


Group for Education in Museums (GEM)

‘GEM champions excellence in heritage learning to improve the education, health and wellbeing of the general public. GEM is for everyone interested in learning through museums and heritage.’

Rebecca says: ‘GEM is the place to go if you’re interested in learning + heritage. It includes a free, fantastic jiscmail email list, while membership gives you a whole host of other benefits. My favourite is their publications.’

Scottish Museums Federation (SMF)

Rebecca says: ‘they have great events!’.

Scottish Heritage Social Media Group (SHSMG)

Rebecca says: SHSMG is a great place to network and learn about practical application of social media to heritage! I recommend their events, and do go ahead and Tweet them @ScotHeritageSMG with any questions you have.

Association Heritage Interpretation (AHI) ‘aims to promote excellence in the practice and provision of interpretation and to gain wider recognition of interpretation as a professional activity’.

Other networks

Outdoor Learning is a big thing in Scotland! National Network for Outdoor Learning (NNOL) is a great place to start.

Learning for Sustainability Scotland is Scotland’s Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development.  Note that Learning for Sustainability is something that all registred teachers in Scotland must use in their practice.

Visitor Studies Group (VSG) ‘brings together a diverse community of visitor studies professionals working in a range of sectors’.

Scottish Peer Education Network (SPEN) has a newsletter and yearly events around peer education projects, specifically projects around facilitating young people to do peer education.


Photo by Clarisse Croset on Unsplash

Posted by: Rebecca Boyde, Youth Engagement Officer at Archaeology Scotland

Post Author: r.boyde