Last Friday (22nd November), the Museum took part in National Museum Takeover Day, a ‘kids in museums’ initiative. The day – called ‘make your mark’ - aimed to give pupils a chance to feed into some exciting projects currently underway at the Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery. We spent the day with twelve year 6 pupils from Rolls Crescent, a local school in Hulme, working on the two projects and generating some really useful insight and opinions.
The day started off in the Park – it was hard to believe that it was only a couple of months ago that I was there with the team of archaeologists, complaining about the heat back in the summer! While it was most definitely ‘crisp’, the sun was out and it was a perfect autumn morning. After a brief introduction to the Whitworth Art Gallery and its redevelopment, we took a stroll around the park to check out the Wicker Ma’am (see left) and some guerrilla knit-work scarves around a tree, and to step back and admire the building work that has already extended the gallery considerably.
Although I will let you find out for yourselves (on the Whitworth’s blog) about what we all got up to in the park, the following pictures should give you some clues…
Having spent the morning out in the fresh (cold!) air, by 11.30 we were all in need of some warmth, so we headed off up to the museum for lunch.
At the Museum, still on the theme of ‘making your mark’, we focused our attention on a slightly smaller scale project, but one that is nonetheless quite important for the school groups who visit us: the lunch room! We are going to be revamping the museum’s basement lunch space over the next year, and takeover day seemed like an ideal opportunity to get some input from pupils who had all used the space whilst visiting the museum. In fact, Takeover Day was perfectly timed; as it fell right at the start of the project, we have been able to ensure that the opinions and ideas of the pupils would underpin the whole project.
So once we arrived at the museum, the first task for the group was to have some lunch in the lunch room; whilst doing this, I asked them to think about whether or not they enjoyed being in the space, and – in an ideal world – what sort of place would be the perfect lunch space. This initial activity generated some really useful ideas…
The group then set about gathering opinions from some of the pupils and teachers who were eating their lunch; I was particularly impressed with how many questionnaires they managed to conduct in a relatively short amount of time, and they generated some really useful information that will feed into our plans. For example, the average score (on a scale of 1:10) for the importance of lunch time during a museum visit, was 7.6 – surprisingly high! Perhaps less surprising, but nonetheless useful, were features of good/bad lunch rooms (see wordles below).
After a walk around the Museum’s galleries for a bit of inspiration, the group recorded all of their thoughts and ideas for the lunch room space on a gigantic colourful graffiti wall (below), and then fed back their ideas to members of the learning team. This short post doesn’t really do justice to all of the hard work that the pupils put in. But I would like to thank all of the year 6 pupils and their accompanying adults, for their fantastic and valuable input into both projects.