British Numismatic Society : Medals, Prizes   Funds
BNS Medal
The British Numismatic Society

Promoting the study of coins, medals, tokens and banknotes

Medals, Prizes & Funds


British Numismatic Society Museum Volunteer Placement Bursaries

Every year the society offers three bursaries for Museum placements. These are month long placements for which all undergraduate or postgraduate students at UK/EU universities are eligible to apply. A bursary of £750 is offered as a contribution towards travel or living expenses for three successful applicants. You can read about the previous placements here (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016). 

This year's positions will be held at the British Museum, Salisbury Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Further details can be found below and the form to apply here. Please send the forms to by Tuesday 5th June 2018.

More about the projects

Department of Coins and Medals, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Founded in 1816 the Fitzwilliam Museum is the art and antiquities museum of the University of Cambridge. With over 220,000 numismatic objects, the Coins and Medals collection is one of international importance, and the Museum is one of the three principal centres for numismatic study in the United Kingdom.

The volunteer will be based in the Museum's Department of Coins and Medals for a period of four weeks (dates to be arranged with the applicant). To encourage a wide range of applicants the focus of the work undertaken during the placement is negotiable. Applicants should explain which area of the collection they would like to focus on during their internship and why.

During the placement the volunteer will have the opportunity to:

  • Identify and document objects, including weighing, measuring and cataloguing
  • Carry out object research for a UCM blog
  • Assist in the preparation of material for exhibition
  • Photograph coins
  • Spend some time in metals conservation

The volunteer will be supervised by Dr Adrian Popescu (Keeper), Dr Martin Allen (Senior Assistant Keeper) and Dr Richard Kelleher (Assistant Keeper).

Stories of Service: Medals and insignia in the collection of the Museum of the Order of St John

The Museum has an extensive collection of medals and insignia, frequently awarded by the Order of St John. Presented to both civilians and military personnel in recognition of humanitarian service, acts of bravery and unwavering commitment, the stories behind the medals are only rarely alluded to in the Museum’s galleries. This project will be instrumental in addressing the absence of these narratives. By making focussed research available online, this project will lay the foundations for a larger initiative to reinterpret the Museum’s significant collection for our visitors and engage our audiences with medals and insignia.

This project will require the volunteer to:
- Select medals and medal groups awarded to named individuals in order to research the stories behind the medals
- Identify and document the medals, including measuring and describing
- Update records on the Museum’s database, MuseumPlus
- Research and write a blog on each medal or medal group, conveying the stories behind the medals in an engaging way for a broad audience
- Research and write a Collection Highlight for the Museum’s website, for any types of medal and insignia researched but not already represented
- Photograph the medals for the blog and Collection Highlight
- Contribute to further social media output to increase traffic to the blog

The volunteer will work on this project independently, supported by the Curator.

Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum, London

The Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum is home to one of the world's finest numismatic collections, comprising about one million objects. The collection spans the history of coinage from its origins in the seventh century BC to the present day, and related material such as coin weights, tokens and money boxes.

The bursary holder at the British Museum will work in the Roman section in the Department of Coins and Medals. They will assist with the sorting, identification, cataloguing, imaging and databasing of Roman coins. In the process, they will gain insights into the wide range of activities undertaken by the staff, ranging from dealing with hoards submitted under the Treasure Act to curation of the permanent collection.