On Friday, Britain’s museums were part of a youth revolution. From Falmouth Art Gallery in Cornwall to Manchester Art Gallery, young people wore their ‘I’m Taking Over’ stickers to let everyone know who was in charge.
It was Takeover Day in museums, the day on which young people are given a meaningful role in museums, galleries, heritage sites and historic homes. The day is organised by Kids in Museums, in partnership with the Children’s Commissioner.
At the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, 12 ten-year-olds chose WW1 objects from the collection, put up a display and even launched it with a press release. “My favourite part was placing the objects into the case. I had so much fun. It was really fun wearing the white gloves so we could pick things up”, said one Year 6 participant.
At the Galleries of Justice, Nottingham, sixth formers were let loose on the archive. ‘It smells so good in here, like an old book,’ said one. A ten-year-old worked with the Marketing Officer, attending a meeting at a local hotel to explore how the museum could work more closely with them.
At Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Museum, 13 young people provided feedback on what they thought worked – and what didn’t. ‘We want more activities for our age group – not under fives, not OAP – but teenagers!’ they said. They also asked for better advertising of what the Gallery does already, so more of their friends know about it. The kids were so inspired by the day they even asked about internships and work placement. ‘We would definitely visit the museum again – due to Takeover,’ they said.
‘The young people brought a real buzz to the Gallery,’ said Corinne Miller, Head of Arts and Heritage, Wolverhampton. ‘It was delightful talking to them and hearing about what they were doing both at school and in the sessions. They filled lots of flip chart paper and had some great ideas which we look forward to realising in the coming programme. I really hope that we shall be able to repeat this event and well done to Kids in Museums for suggesting it – a great idea.’
‘It was fabulous to have a day when adults are greeted by ten year olds at the front desk, can be taken around by a teenage tour guide, or see a display constructed by twelve year olds,’ said Dea Birkett, Director of Kids in Museums. ‘Takeover Day 2011 has proved that kids are capable of practically anything. And that if they’re put at the heart of a museum’s work, fresh, imaginative ideas and initiatives are the inevitable result. We look forward to hearing about the great ongoing work all the museums involved will be doing with young people.’
To find out more about Takeover Day in museums and a full list of who took part go to our website or follow us on Twitter @kidsinmuseums. Don’t forget to #Takeover 2011 if you’re talking about it!
Takeover Day in museums is part of the annual Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day, encouraging organizations to involve and listen to young people. To find out more about Children’s Commissioner Takeover Day go to their website www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/takeover_day