On Friday 22nd November museums are putting children and young people at their heart. They’re letting them run them for the day! Takeover Day is an annual celebration of children’s place in our museums, proving what a fantastic contribution they can make if given the chance.
Museum directors, front of house, curators, conservators, tour guides, 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 and the ‘We’re Being Taken Over’ posters on the museums’ front doors.
Run by charity Kids in Museums, in partnership with the Children’s Commissioner and supported by Arts Council England, Takeover Day gives children and young people a meaningful and powerful role usually reserved for adults.
Celebrity children’s author, Kids in Museums Patron and Takeover Day Ambassador Damian Dibben says, ‘I’m really proud to be the first Takeover Day Ambassador for Kids in Museums. My History Keepers books are all about kids being put in control and saving the world, so I really believe, if you put young people in charge, all sorts of incredible things happen. Museums will be surprised and delighted by what kids can offer to them in new skills, interesting approaches and fresh ideas. And museums must remember that one day is never enough. Takeover Day is only the first day of putting young people permanently at the heart of a museum.’
Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, says, ‘Arts Council is proud to support Takeover Day in museums, the biggest nationwide initiative to introduce young people to the opportunities museums offer, as we recognise and champion the value of engaging with arts and culture from a young age. Takeover gives young people the chance to show they can contribute to museums and throughout the arts with enthusiasm, commitment and their own expertise.’
Here’s some of the ways in which children and teenagers are taking over
• At the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre, Nottinghamshire, ten 12-year-olds are being trained to clean the artefacts and identify the bugs that may destroy them.
• At Bursledon Windwill, Hampshire, teenagers are running torchlight tours for families, writing and delivering the trails.
• At Norwich Castle Museum, very young children are answering the phone and making the tannoy announcements throughout Takeover Day.
• Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester is closed for redevelopment. But that hasn’t stopped children taking it over. Fifteen 10-year-olds are interviewing and filming the construction team, and coming up with ideas what the new Whitworth should look like. The recommendations will be presented back to the construction team for action!
• At Windsor Castle, over 50 teenagers from a local secondary school have planned, designed and will put on tours and events about the castle’s armour for local primary school children, showing how children can support each other.
If you’d like to cover Takeover Day at a museum, email us and we’ll put you in touch for photo opportunities and interviews.
Follow us on Twitter at @takeovermuseums and use hashtag #TakeoverDay
To find out more about Takeover Day – and who‘s taking part – go to our web page.