The study covers the roles which museums can play with their local communities and the benefits which can be gained for both the local communities and the museum. Museums, particularly local authority museums, are required to meet community engagement targets. This engagement is seen in differing lights depending on the museum and can be seen as a burden. However, effective use of community engagement can increase visitor numbers and provide the local community with access to valuable resources. The research explores the roots of community engagement from the founding of museums to the present day. It also explores how engagement is perceived within different institutions and the perceived outcomes of this engagement. The case study looks at the work of the Museum of East Anglian Life. The work based learning programme the museum offers to the long term unemployed provides training opportunities to individuals who may be at risk of the effects of deprivation. By studying the results of the work based learning programme it can be seen that the Museum of East Anglian Life has built a valuable relationship with its local communities.