In December 2020 the Money and Medals Network training program went digital! The six planned physical events had to be postponed at the beginning of the year due to the pandemic and it became obvious that it would not be possible run them as originally envisaged any time soon. The time had come to embrace online training and to offer some events via Zoom.
It was important to figure out how MMN training would work as online sessions and to establish what people would want from such events. I felt that the best way forward was to run a fairly simple event covering topics that most people would find useful, such as numismatic storage and display. I consulted with colleagues at the British Museum who had already run online seminars and settled on a half-day format in order to avoid “Zoom fatigue.”
This event, moderated by Dr Megan Gooch to whom I am eternally grateful for her help and support, was run on Friday the 27th November 2020 and featured two training talks from me. The session also featured a workshop element where attendees were sent off in groups to breakout rooms and asked to consider a couple of questions before reporting back to the main group. Platforms like Zoom offer such useful interactive elements as this, as well polls to gauge people’s opinions on various things. This was useful for gathering feedback on the event itself as well as being a bit of fun – we were able to offer a “what’s your favourite coin?” poll based on a selection of images to keep people occupied as they were logging in at the beginning.
Another benefit of running events via Zoom is that, once the geographical barrier has been removed, the training can potentially be opened up to a much wider audience. This debut event, intended to test the water and canvass opinion as well as offering numismatic advice, attracted a staggering 65 people, which was hugely encouraging to see. It also attracted people from museums all over the world, including Greece, Egypt and Haiti, widening the reach of MMN and spreading its benefits much further than before.
This first event went well and received lots of positive feedback which gave the MMN the green light to start converting those six postponed training days into Zoom sessions. The first of this new online program, Medals in Museum Collections (Part One), originally planned as an East Midlands Money and Medals event, focused on commemorative medals, art medals and the storage of museum medal collections. Held on the 29th of January, it attracted a whopping 81 attendees from all over the UK and internationally. The MMN has now linked up more formally with the British Museum’s International Training Program and opened up the training opportunities to the global museum community. Part Two, focusing on military medals, documentation of medals on museum databases and the display of medals, followed on the 26th of February 2021, hosted by Somerset Museums Service, and this also proved to be extremely popular with over 80 attendees. The one after that was a North East event on the identification of Roman coins, run by Dr Frances McIntosh and hosted by Andrew Parkin, on the 4th of March 2021. The last event, an online research conference with an emphasis on MMN under lockdown, was held on the 18th of March 2021.
The Money and Medals Network is very much open for business, despite this new national lockdown, and the use of online resources is allowing us to reach bigger audiences than ever before. To learn more about what is coming up, please visit the homepage of Money & Medals Network.
This article first appeared in the Money & Medals newsletter 81.
Learn more about Henry Flynn, who organizes the events, in his Who’s Who entry.