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Transition Year Programme 2024

Students from Larkin Community College engage with Museum Educator

Learn about what goes on behind the scenes at the National Museum of Ireland in February 2024

The Museum is delighted to host an exciting and interactive weeklong immersive Transition Year work experience in February 2024. Over the course of five days, you will have the opportunity to learn about the important work of preserving and presenting cultural heritage, engaging with communities and creating meaningful learning experiences, through a combination of talks and workshops with Museum staff, and hands-on activities. This work experience is intended for students thinking about pursuing a career in the museum and cultural heritage sector, but is also suitable for students with an interest in the role of museums in modern society.

Learning Outcomes:

Successful candidates to the Transition Year Programme will have opportunities to: 
  • Develop an understanding of the various departments and roles in a museum
  • Gain insights into the work of conservation, marketing, education, exhibition development and community engagement.
  • Explore the work of cataloguing, research and interpretation of artefacts
  • Understand the statutory role and legal requirements of a museum
  • Gain insight into potential career paths in the museum sector  

Key Dates

The closing date for applicants is the 27th of October
  • Successful applicants to the programme can expect to be contacted to have their place confirmed by 7th December 2023  
  • This placement will be offered to a maximum of 20 students during the week of 26th February – 1st March 2024
  • Applicants should note that all personal data collected in the application process will be deleted by the Museum upon the completion of the programme

Important Information

This is a five day programme, and will take place across two National Museum of Ireland sites: Museum of Decorative Arts & History (Mon – Thursday) and Museum of Archaeology (Friday).

All successful applicants must ensure that they are able to attend all five days of the programme, and are able to travel to both sites listed above.

Each day of the programme will be from 10am – 4pm, including one hour for lunch. Lunch will not be provided by the Museum.

Breakdown of programme (subject to change)


Day 1: Morning

Welcome and Museum Tour

  • On the first day, you will be welcomed to the National Museum of Ireland and given a tour of the Museum. This session is designed to provide an overview of the Museum and its collections, as well as to introduce you to the various roles and functions of a museum. By the end of this session, you will have a better understanding of the Museum's mission and purpose, and how it serves the public through its exhibitions, learning and engagement programmes, and research.

Day 1: Afternoon

  • This session will focus on some of the main ways that the public engage with museums, both with those they meet when they arrive onsite, and also the marketing strategies that are used to inform the public about the Museum. You will meet Marketing Executives and Front of House managers, who will present you with social media exercises and case study examples to highlight the importance of this role.


Day 2: Morning
Design & Photography

  • Design and photography are important tools for promoting museums and engaging with audiences. In this session, you will learn about the design principles used to create compelling museum experiences, while also gaining an insight into the various design disciplines used by museums to showcase their collections to suit a broad audience base. You will also have the opportunity to learn about the role of photography in documenting Museum collections and exhibitions, and how it can be used to engage audiences.

Day 2: Afternoon
Special Collections

  • Museums often have specialised collections that require unique care and attention. In this session, you will learn about the Museum's special collections, including the Ethnographic Collections and Irish Traveller Culture. You will have the opportunity to learn about the unique challenges involved in preserving and presenting these collections, as well as the importance of working with communities to ensure that their cultural heritage is properly represented.

Day 3: Morning
Learning and Community Engagement

  • Museums play a vital role in engaging with communities and providing educational opportunities. In this session, you will learn about the various educational programmes and community engagement initiatives offered by the National Museum of Ireland. Through hands-on activities, you will gain a better understanding of the Museum's role in promoting lifelong learning and cultural understanding.


Day 3: Afternoon
Conservation Care

  • Conservation is a crucial aspect of museum work, ensuring that cultural objects are preserved for future generations. In this session, you will learn about the various techniques and practices used to conserve and protect Museum collections. Through hands-on activities, you will gain a better appreciation for the complexities of conservation and the importance of preserving our cultural heritage.

Day 4: Morning
Developing a New Exhibition

  • Developing a new exhibition involves a wide range of tasks, from research and curatorial work to interpretation planning, design and installation. In this session, you will learn about the various stages of exhibition development, including research, planning, design, and installation. You will have the opportunity to work on a mock exhibition project and gain a better understanding of the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of exhibition making.

Day 4: Afternoon

  • This session will focus on the methodology for managing collections and collections information. This will cover the process of documenting objects in the Museum's collections, storing and preserving objects (including Library and Archives) and managing loans of objects to/ from other institutions.

Day 5: Morning
Museum of Archaeology

  • The National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology is home to the collections of the Irish Antiquities Division (IAD). These collections span the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Early Medieval and Later Medieval periods and also include Classical, Egyptian and Ethnographical collections. In this session, you will visit the Archaeology exhibitions where you will view iconic artefacts such as the Broighter gold boat, the Tara Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice. You will also be given a tour of the museum at Kildare Street and learn about the type of work carried out by the archaeologists in the Irish Antiquities Division including the legislative remit of the National Museum of Ireland.

Day 5: Afternoon
Careers. Reflection, Evaluation and Close


  • There are many different career paths in the museum sector, ranging from curators and conservators to educators and marketing professionals. In this session, you will have the opportunity to learn about the various museum careers and hear from staff and museum professionals about their experiences and paths to their current positions. You will also have the opportunity to explore ways to develop the skills and experience necessary to pursue a career in the museum sector.
  • The afternoon will end with time for reflection, evaluation and closing ceremony.

Contact us

For more information about the programme, please contact Diarmuid Bolger, Assistant Education Officer at the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, at  

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Decorative Arts & History

Collins Barracks ,
Benburb St,
Dublin 7,
D07 XKV4

+353 1 677 7444