Over 500 children have taken over museums for the day.
For the first time, young people have taken over Britain’s museums for Takeover Day Friday November 12th. The movement, spearheaded by charity Kids in Museums, is part of the Children’s Commissioner’s annual Takeover Day. Now in its fourth year, Takeover Day gives children across the country the chance to shadow top jobs, offer their opinions on key issues and be involved in decision making alongside adults.
Nine-year-old Scarlet Chapman became Director of Falmouth Art Gallery for the day, presenting awards and giving a speech to over 100 people as she hosted a private view in the gallery.
At Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester a class from Medlock primary school manned the visitor services desk, welcomed visitors and gave guided tours of the gallery. They even took over the gallery’s twitter feed.
At Imperial War Museum North 30 schoolchildren took over planning and research for Remembrance Day commemorations. A delegation of six young people presented their findings to the museum Director and managers on 12 November.
Kids in Museums was taken over too. Six students from Langley Academy in Slough, Berkshire – the only school in Britain to specialise in museum studies – took over the Kids in Museums office.
The year 9 students looked through nominations for this year’s Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award, judging what made a great museum experience for young people. The students put together their own recommendations for museums based on their debate throughout the day, e.g. a teenager’s pass that rewards repeat visits to a museum with a prize.
Chloe King El-Bokhari said:
“Museums should listen more to people our age and say – come and join us and have your say, so that people can express themselves.”
The Kids in Museums staff team were bowled over by the suggestions the teenagers made. Director, Dea Birkett said:
“Cool. Awesome. Sick. We don’t usually hear these words used by decision makers in museums. But on Takeover Day, it was teenagers telling us what museums should do, for whom, and how. It was a day for museums to listen and involve, sharing thoughts and ideas with young people. This Takeover Day 2010 is just the beginning of young people being at the heart of decision making in a museum. We’re looking forward to a record breaking Museum Takeover Day 2011, with tens of thousands of young people taking part. That will be really cool.”
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