St Petersburg University has developed a non-degree academic programme «Museum Collections Management». It is specifically for custodians, specialists in inventory and collection purchasing, and the heads of public and private museums.

The conference «University Museums and Collections: Natural Science Heritage in the Modern World» was within the framework of the «Education» section at the VII St Petersburg International Cultural Forum. At the conference, the St Petersburg University projects that were discussed included this academic programme.

The non-degree academic programme «Museum collections management».

Future students will be able to do either a complete course of the programme, or choose one of four modules depending on their learning objectives. The modules are: Research and Museum Collections Care; Attribution and Authentication of Museum Objects and Collections; Management and Marketing in Museum Work; and Information Technology in a Museum. Upon completion of each module, students will have the opportunity to be attested and receive a certificate of advanced training. Upon completion of the entire course and final assessment, students will receive a diploma of professional retraining.

Another advantage of the programme is its interactive format. In addition to lectures and practical training, students will have remote access to educational and resource materials. Moreover, the programme takes into account all relevant professional standards of museum studies. The programme was developed by: specialists from St Petersburg University; representatives of the Ministry of Culture of Russia; as well as other practical experts.

"St Petersburg University has an agreement with the Ministry of Culture of Russia that this programme can be offered to the widest range of institutions. In addition, we will strive to ensure that all interested specialists from the regions are able to come to us to study,"said Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Methodological Support at St Petersburg University.

St Petersburg University shares its accumulated experience in the field of museum studies not only with the professional community, but also with a wide audience. There was a presentation of the album «The Knowledge Collection: Museums and Collections of St Petersburg University» atthe venue of the Cultural Forum. The publication includes photo illustrations and descriptions of all museums and collections. Its exhibits have been collected and donated to the University by academic staff, students, post graduate students and graduates. Encyclopaedic and large-scale collections of St Petersburg University include collections on: the history of science and education of the 18th to 21st centuries; history of art and culture of the 19th to 21st centuries; memorial, bioresource, and geological collections; as well as manuscript and book collections.

«The museums and collections of the University are unique as their exhibits are regularly used in the academic process and scientific work. Our students and post graduate students study museum objects and devote complete research to them. The album "The Knowledge Collection: Museums and Collections of St Petersburg University" opens a veil of secrecy over those treasures that for many years have beenavailable only to university students and professors,» said Elena Chernova, Senior Vice-Rector of St Petersburg University.

The principle of accessibility and openness is followed by all modern museums of the world, and St Petersburg University is no exception. The main objective of the album is to get the general public to know how the University cares about the cultural and historical heritage. «We can talk about the preservation of the exhibits from the point of view of their inventory, documentation, ensuring their safety and security, but today it is especially important to tell about them and show them,» said Iuliia Kupina, the Rector’s advisor on museum activities at St Petersburg University.

University collections constantly become objects of research. Using the equipment of the Research Park of St Petersburg University, specialists discover new properties of minerals, as well as study rocks and palaeontological remains from the collections of the Mineralogical, Petrographic, Palaeontological and Stratigraphic, and Palaeontological Museums of the University. Studies have become experiments on the integration of the resources of the Research Park of St Petersburg University, which has the most advanced equipment worth more than seven billion roubles, and the Department of Natural Science Collections of St Petersburg University, which holds about a million items.

«The combination of world-class specialists, rich museum collections, and opportunities for first-class research at the University, in which young scientists and students participate, is simply unique. Such works provide the continuity of scientific traditions and the development of interdisciplinary research,» said Irina Bugrova, associate professor, Head of the Department of Natural Science Collections at St Petersburg University.