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LAUNCH OF NEW KIDS IN MUSEUMS MANIFESTO 2012 on MONDAY 16TH JANUARY
Don’t tell teenagers to – STAND UP! SHUT UP! SWITCH OFF YOUR PHONE!
The Kids in Museums Manifesto 2012 is launched on Monday 16th January. And this year, visitors have given a loud, clear message – welcome teenagers to your museum.
Too often museums say three things to a teenager – Stand up! Shut up! Switch off your phone! Three things that are the most difficult for a teenager to do.
Teenagers love to slouch. So why aren’t there more places for them to sit down and hang out in museums? Perhaps big soft sofas or bean bags to laze on and have a chat?
Teenagers love to chat. So why do so many museums still say ‘Sssshhhh’? Museums should be places throbbing with vibrant ideas and debate. Rather than saying shut up, museums must listen and join in the conversation.
Teenagers love to text. So why do so many museums still have a ‘No mobile phones!’ policy? Museums should invite teenagers to text, Facebook and tweet their experiences as they go around the galleries.
‘Teenagers have been getting a very bad press,’ says Mariella Frostrup, Patron, Kids in Museums . ‘We read that they’re badly behaved, idle and don’t speak quite like we would wish. Well – their involvement in museums proves the opposite – that if they’re given the chance they get stuck in and contribute great ideas and hard work. Museums can lead the way in promoting a better image of teenagers. That’s a far better idea than just condemning them. Innit.’
Visitors have also called for a ‘Can do’ culture for museum visits. ‘Too many times the first thing I see when I take my kids to a museum is a list pinned up at the door of things I mustn’t do – Don’t leave the pushchair in the entrance. Don’t leave the kids unattended. We don’t take large bags in the cloakroom. Do not use your mobile phone. Don’t take pictures…. Why can’t we be greeted by a list of things we CAN do? How about – Please leave the pushchair in the cloakroom and we’ll give you a backpack for your baby. Or – Do use your mobile phone to text friends to tell them how great our exhibition is. Or – We welcome families enjoying the museum together. That way we’d all feel welcome,’ says Mariella Frostrup.
The Kids in Museums Manifesto 2012 – 20 ways to make a museum family friendly– is compiled entirely from hundreds of visitors’ comments. It gives a powerful voice to children, families and teenagers throughout Britain. Over 300 museums use it as a guide to becoming more family friendly, pledging their support.
You can download a copy of the new Manifesto here from Monday 16th.
For further information, hard copies of the Kids in Museums Manifesto 2012, images (including Quentin Blake illustrations) and interview requests, just call 020 7250 8338 or 07545 697652. Further information on Kids in Museums can be found on our website.
Kids in Museums is a visitor-led charity working with museums to make them more family friendly, in particular for families who have never visited before. Kids in Museums believes in changing museums, we can change lives, giving new opportunities and experiences to children and families. Among our recent projects are the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award, the Flexible Family Ticket campaign, and Your Museum Cafe.
Kids in Museums was founded when writer Dea Birkett’s family were thrown out of the Royal Academy, London, for being too noisy. Find out more about us from our website.
Kids in Museums is grateful for Arts Council support.
We would also like to thank Quentin Blake for his fabulous illustrations.