My visit to The Museum of Me

I was invited to open a new museum recently – a great honour because no-one’s ever asked me to do anything like that before. It was at St James’ CE Primary School in Fallowfield, Manchester, and it’s called The Museum of Me. Year 5 and 6 children from the school have constructed their own museum in partnership with our learning team, working with an artist and a writer to develop creative responses to objects and exhibitions.

Image, display from Museum of Me (notebooks)

Image, the Museum of Me process

The focus for the project was Lindow Man: A Bog Body Mystery – our current temporary exhibition. The process went to and fro, with the children making research visits to the museum and staff and practitioners going out to school. Lindow Man is not a straightforward exhibition for children to engage with, but the work that our learning team has done with a range of ages shows that it can be done really successfully.

Image, display from Museum of Me (year 6 - basket)

Image, personal item on display

The key theme that the St James’ children extracted from the exhibition was ‘time’, and they explored this complex and fascinating subject through discussion, object investigation, creative writing, sculpture and illustration. The children worked in teams to curate the museum, collecting objects from their homes, composing labels and interpretive panels, and creating artwork displays.

Image, display from Museum of Me (hanging artworks)

Image, hanging artworks

On arrival I was greeted by ‘Visitor Services Staff’ who gave me a VIP badge and escorted me through a private view of the exhibits. The children explained their museum and answered my questions with a fluency and conceptual sophistication that would be a credit to any of our institutions. No-one who had gathered for this official opening – parents, teachers and museum staff – could doubt the dedication, enthusiasm and creative learning that had gone into this latest addition to our cultural heritage.

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