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Children and young people to take charge of Wales’ museums for a day
If you go to a museum on Tuesday 20th November, you’re in for a big surprise. Throughout Wales, museum directors, front of house, curators, conservators, website designers and catering staff will be replaced by children and young people. Look out for the ‘I’m Taking Over’ stickers they’ll be wearing.
Taking Over Museums Day is a day where young people are given a meaningful role in museums. Independent charity Kids in Museums has teamed up with the Welsh Government and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales to give children and young people the chance to be in charge. Children and young people take over roles usually reserved for adults – including designing exhibitions, managing front of house services, marketing and conservation work.
Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, says: “I am very pleased that the Welsh Government is supporting Taking Over Museums Day. The day will give young people the chance to be at the heart of a museum’s work and for some, this might be their first real interaction with their heritage and culture. For others, it could well be the spark that will inspire a lifelong interest in history and the arts. Of course, it’s not just about the benefits to the kids, the museums themselves are set to gain a huge amount too. The young people will help museums to make their exhibitions more relevant and interesting to children and young people who will be able to offer fresh new ideas.”
Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, added: “This is a day that not only empowers children and young people to take a lead role in running their museums but it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the positive contribution they can make to our society. I’m really pleased that we are able to celebrate Universal Children’s Day here in Wales in such a creative way.”
Here’s just some of the ways in which children and young people are taking over:
Chepstow Museum is being taken over by teenagers – and insects! Teenagers will become Young Conservators, as they work with the Objects Conservator learning about tackling pests in museums and what a huge threat they are. They’ll checks the traps set around the museum, using microscopes to identify the pest. They’ll even help pack items for the deep freeze – one method the museum uses to kill the pests that attack museum objects.
National Slate Museum
Teenagers will be set to work wiping and washing, given cloths and conservation fluids, as they take on the role of conservators for the day. They will research two objects, such as a wagon or steam locomotive, and talk to visitors about how they worked and who used them.
Cynon Valley Museum and Gallery
Teenagers from Aberdare Girls’ school will run this museum, from front of house and guides, to setting up a display on the 100th anniversary of their school. Don’t be surprised if they stop and ask you questions. They’re doing a survey, gathering memories of their school. You’ll spot them easily – they’ll be wearing T-shirts with ‘I’m Taking Over’ on them.
The Cardiff Story
If you go to Cardiff Story on Taking Over Museums Day, you may well be greeted by a primary school pupil at front of house, offering to help. They will also spend the day interviewing older people about their childhood memories. These will be made into Story of the Month with one going up on the website each month.
Teenagers will be donning white gloves and writing labels, as they become curators of the Olympic section of the museum’s forthcoming Sports Exhibition. They’ll handle objects, photograph them, blog, tweet and – of course – put up the display.
If you’d like to cover Taking Over Museums Day at a museum, just email [email protected] and we’ll put you in touch for photo opportunities and interviews.
To find out more about Taking Over Museums Day – and who‘s taking part – go to www.kidsinmuseums.org.uk/takingover.