From artists-in-residence at the British Museum, London, to designing a pop-up exhibition at Time and Tide, Great Yarmouth, children and teenagers are leading on Takeover Day – the annual day when museums all over the country hand over decision-making roles to young people. Look out for the ‘I’m Taking Over’ stickers the young people will be wearing and the ‘We’re Being Taken Over’ posters on the organisations’ front doors.
This record-breaking year, over 150 museums, castles, historic homes and heritage sites across England are being taken over by almost 4,000 children and teenagers. For many of these young people, it’s their first taste of what it’s like inside a museum, leading to long-term involvement and new career opportunities.
Kids in Museums’ Patron Damian Dibben, bestselling children’s author of The History Keepers and Takeover Ambassador, says: “Takeover Day is the most thrilling and fun day of the year. Seeing kids take on every museum job – from curators, to front of house, to security guards – makes old institutions come alive. Takeover Day not only gives young people the opportunity to experience and excel at something they might not have thought was for them, but declares that museums are for everyone, of every age. I had the great fortune to grow up right by the museums of London and weekly trips opened up fascinating new worlds to me, universes of the past and the future, of nature and the cosmos, that inspire me to this very day.”
Damian will be visiting Brighton Museums on Takeover Day where 30 students from Portslade Aldridge Community Academy will be working in the security team, visitor services, as shop staff, in marketing, doing pop-up talks, costumed flyering and much more.
Takeover Day is run by charity Kids in Museums and supported by Arts Council England.
Here’s just some of the ways in which children and young people are taking over:
At the British Museum, primary school kids are taking over the Families Desk, helping families to find out what’s on offer for them. Also, students from Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children are supporting Visitor Services staff as they show people into the Sunken Cities exhibition using British Sign Language. In the Clore Centre for Education young people from Westminster College will be delivering workshops for younger students. And finally students from Richard Cloudsley School will be working as Artists-in-Residence creating pop-up art installations in the Great Court.
At Rail Story, Keighley, West Yorkshire, six primary school children are creating posters to advertise the railway and why it’s such a great day out as well as making five-minute videos about their favourite objects.
At Time and Tide, Great Yarmouth, ten local young people with English as a second language are launching their pop-up exhibition and museum trail, made from objects they have picked to reflect their heritage and interpreted themselves in English and their first language. They’re even preparing the press release and social media campaign to advertise the exhibition.
At Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, ten-year-olds are the explainers in the Roman Gallery, as well as delivering tours and object handling sessions.
Teenagers are taking over the guiding at Oxford Castle for an evening promenade-style performance in the atmospheric setting of the former Prison wing.
At the American Museum in Bath, Somerset, 30 kids and teenagers are becoming filmmakers, creating a behind-the-scenes film about how the museum cares for its collections, covering pest prevention, packing and storing objects and theft prevention. The film will be used to train staff and volunteers.