A post from Clare Cory, Ashmolean Secondary & Young People Learning Officer about working with our CREATIVES young people’s group to deliver a families event for the Kids in Museums Takeover Day
CREATIVES is the Ashmolean’s group for young people aged 16-19. Begun in 2016 it gives young people opportunities to develop new skills, learn about collections, and represent the views of young people at The Ashmolean.
In autumn 2018 the group took up the challenge of working as a team to take part in ‘Takeover Day’ when young people step into jobs normally done by adults. The event is run by Kids in Museums, a nationwide organisation which works with museums to make them more welcoming for children, young people and families. Since Takeover Day began in 2010, 35,000 children and young people nationally have taken part. For young people, Takeover Day is a unique chance to learn outside the classroom to develop new skills and discover what it’s like to work behind the scenes at a museum.
Equipped with training from the Oxford University Museum Volunteers Service, CREATIVES members planned and delivered a weekend drop in event for families. Building on previous experience of running Live Fridays events, young people planned three activities based on different objects they thought would interest children and families. For each one, they planned a practical activity followed by exploration of an object in the gallery to extend the children’s learning.
In the cast gallery children were encouraged to colour an outline drawing of a cast, then find out what the original statue might have looked like when painted. A writing activity was planned exploring Egyptian Cartouches and hieroglyphs, with children experimenting by writing their own names and visiting the gallery to look for clues about Taharqa’s shrine. Finally, to learn about Islamic art, the group created drawing templates and search sheets for children to explore different aspects of Islamic pattern and design. This last activity was informed by the discovery delivering previous events that colouring is popular with all ages, including adults.
The day was a great success and was attended by 75 people from under 5s to grandparents, who all enjoyed taking part in the activities then exploring the objects in each gallery to find put more. The group learnt a lot about welcoming and talking to visitors and encouraging them to take part, as well as the practical aspects of the day such as setting up, clearing away, planning resources and writing risk assessments.
One CREATIVES member commented, ‘it was fun to interact with families, and especially with small children and to remember what I liked when I was younger when we planned the activities.’
CREATIVES will also join in with a Teen Digital Takeover again this summer, that empowers young people by enabling them to take control of museums’ social media accounts and have their voices heard. Last year the group chose objects which intrigued them and wrote imaginative tweets which appeared on the Ashmolean’s twitter feed alongside an image of their object. We plan to have an even bigger presence this summer, so look out for more inspiring tweets next August.
Find out more: CREATIVES Young People’s programme.