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REBECCA MACRAE: PURSUING MY DREAM CAREER – University of Reading

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  • WORKING IN THE ANCIENT WORLD

    Rebecca took advantage of the array of opportunites Reading offered to pursue a career in the museum sector

REBECCA MACRAE: PURSUING MY DREAM CAREER

Rebecca MacRae's love of the Horrible Histories series as a child sparked her interest in history and classical civilisation. This transformed into a determination to study Ancient History and History at the University of Reading, and led to her current job working at The British Museum.

"I chose to study what I was passionate about at university, and graduated with a BA in Ancient History and History."

"I firmly believe you should study something you are interested in and are enthusiastic about - I've never once regretted my decision to do so."

CHOICE AND FLEXIBILITY

Rebecca chose the University of Reading due to the wide range of modules and flexibility on offer:

"The course here was perfect for me because it offered a wide range of topics in both of my subjects - I studied modules such as medieval women, ancient Rome and late antique Egypt."

"While many people choose to narrow their interests as they progress through their degree, I was the opposite: I continued taking advantage of the wide range of modules on offer. For example, I took Latin and an archaeology module in my first year despite having no previous experience in either topic; and in my final year I studied Curatorship and Collections Management alongside the ancient Greeks and medieval magic. My lecturers were really passionate about their subjects, and about helping us reach our full potential."

"The flexibility to choose the modules I wanted from such a wide range, and the ability to steer my degree in the direction I wanted, was amazing."

MUSEUM EXPERIENCE

Rebecca's love for history as a child evolved into a desire to work in the heritage sector after university:

"I knew I wanted to work in museums and so I took advantage of the many opportunities Reading offered for museum experience."

"I volunteered at the Museum of London before university, and I continued to volunteer while at Reading, in the Ure Museum located within the Classics Department. Later, just before graduation, I secured a paid digital curating internship at the Ure Museum through the Reading Internship Scheme, which focused on social media and the online database. Following this I worked part-time at the Ure Museum as the Acting Assistant Curator and Education Officer: this involved running school sessions, checking the temperature in the cases, and working with the Museum's volunteers. Having volunteered myself, I found it inspiring and insightful to work with volunteers in this role."

"I also did a Museum Studies module as part of my degree at Reading, which was held at the University's Museum of English Rural Life. This module when coupled with the practical experience I developed through volunteering gave me the opportunity to develop valuable knowledge and experience which has helped me to move into the museum sector since graduating."

mY DREAM JOB

After graduating Rebecca tried her hand at a variety of roles, before moving to The British Museum:

"After I left the Ure Museum I did an internship with Cancer Research UK, then held a role in marketing, before working at Wycombe Museum, and now The British Museum. I knew I wanted to work in the museum and heritage sector, but I wanted to explore other roles and industries first just to be sure."

"The experience I had gained during my time at Reading made a huge difference when applying for museum roles - it gave me an array of invaluable knowledge and skills."

"I always wanted to work in the museum sector because that's where history connects with society - if you want to see something amazing or learn something new, you will be able to at a museum. I adore the objects and connecting with the public, and getting to know the volunteers I look after in my job as 'Coordinator: Volunteering', which involves supporting volunteers who help with talks, Behind The Scenes tours and object handling."

"I love working at The British Museum, and have continued to enjoy studying my passion by working towards obtaining a master's degree in Medieval History at King's College London. Reading University, the lecturers and the Ure Museum helped me to get where I am now. I loved being at and studying at Reading - and had a really great experience both inside and outside of the lecture theatre."

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