What's a Rembrandt exhibition got to do with Human Resource Management?

Thursday 17 November 2016

This was just one of the questions posed to a group of Oxford Brookes MSc HRM students who spent an afternoon at Oxford University's internationally renowned Ashmolean Museum on Monday 14th November.

What's a Rembrandt exhibition got to do with Human Resource Management?

Invited in by Laureen McHaffie, the Ashmolean's Head of HR, the visit provided a fascinating behind-the-scenes view on what it takes from a people and HR policy perspective to make the Ashmolean one of the UK's most respected academic institutions and most visited tourist attractions. Students spent the afternoon reviewing the staff welcome pack and making suggestions for improvements, addressing common HR scenarios set by the Ashmolean's Head of Operations and finding out about how the HR department has to work closely with the Security Team to keep staff, visitors and the priceless collections safe. They also heard curator An van Kamp explain how her work, including her Rembrandt Exhibition, was only possible because of the support of the HR team in areas such as recruitment and internship management.

Explaining her invitation, Laureen McHaffie noted, "last year one of the Brookes HRM students did her dissertation on staff engagement at the Ashmolean, and this year we have three students basing their dissertations on the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums. This is great for giving us new insights and for raising the profile of HR as a value-adding activity within the museums. And with this visit we wanted to broaden out our longstanding education work as a museum and contribute to these students' professional development as well "

Thanking the Ashmolean, Brookes HR Subject Co-ordinator, Dr Jonathan Louw, emphasised how such visits help students to bring together theory with practice and also reinforce the many levels at which Oxford's two universities benefit from working with each other.

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