Our temporary exhibition ‘My life as an artist’ by Harold Gosney came to the end this week. This exhibition has displayed a huge collection of sculpture and artwork much of which was inspired by animals, in particular horses.
As always we were keen to complement the exhibition with some play activities for families to help them explore and engage with the items on display.
The animal themes in the exhibition are wonderfully universal in appealing to even very young children who enjoyed spotting different animals and making animal noises or actions.
We chose a ‘how to draw a horse’ activity, inspired by Harold Gosney’s beautiful sketches, puppets and books on horses, instruments to make the noise of horses and some natural wooden building blocks to create a stable for little horses to live in.
All of these activities have been widely used and enjoyed by families throughout last few months. It has been particularly lovely to walk through the gallery each day and see the creations children have made with the blocks and left for others to see.
We are now busy preparing some activities for our next temporary exhibition ‘Fashion in colour’.
Rosalind Macaulay, Under 5s Learning Officer
On May 16th the under 5s team from the Humber Museums Partnership attended a conference at Eureka, the National Children’s Museum. The conference focused on the importance of play in museums. There were a range of interesting speakers who discussed many different aspects of play.
Alexandra Long & Mike Wragg from Leeds Beckett University highlighted the politicisation of children and play. They warned against the problem of thinking ‘children are our future’ is that we tend to forget the present, ignoring their everyday lived experience.
Rebecca Caswell, Strategic Lead, Play and Early Years at Eureka lead us in a story-telling activity, encouraging conference delegates to engage in play themselves.
Juliette Yardley from Laughology introduced us to the psychology of play in her engaging and entertaining presentation. She presented evidence that suggests that play helps us develop develop neotenous traits, which helps us with creativity and problem solving.
Ruth Churchill Dower from Early Arts discussed the power of play in developing the whole child. She introduced us to key concepts in childhood development and educational psychology. She says “Play is not an option, it’s a right”.
Dr Elizabeth Wood and Dr Liz Chesworth from the University of Sheffield showcased some of their fascinating research on children’s imaginative play. Liz Chesworth’s research has involved making video recordings of children at play, and interviewing them about their experiences while watching back the footage. She shared a number of observations, including one about a little girl who went to the dressing up area to put on shiny shoes to ‘go out and walk the dog’. When watching back this footage with her mother, her mother commented that the little girl often wants to go out and do mucky tasks in inappropriate foot ware. Just the other day the little girl had been caught half-way out the door to feed the pigs wearing her party shoes. She had been told to go back and change into wellies. In her imaginative play, she could wear whatever shoes she liked. In play, the impossible becomes possible.
At North Lincs, we already know how important play is and work hard to ensure it is encorporated into all our programming. The conference gave us the tools to continue advocating for the importance of play, as well as many new ideas for how to make our museum even more playful. #powertotheplayful !
Dr Rebecca Kummerfeld, Learning Manager
February 2016 saw the launch of our new family activity programme for weekends and school holidays. Through our new programme, we seek to highlight our collection through fun and engaging activities.
During the Easter break, we ran an activity called ‘Who is Dudley’s friend?’. We filled our learning space with suitcases, each open to display a range of objects from our handling collection. Each case was developed to represent an imagined owner, showcasing their belongings to our visitors.
Families were encouraged to explore the objects and imagine who each suitcase might have be belonged to. Everyone enjoyed trying on the clothing they would have worn and guessing what some of the objects might have been used for. The very young enjoyed emptying the suitcases and trunks and refilling them.
After exploring the suitcases, families followed a trail through the museum that lead them to other objects in the exhibition displays that might also have been in the suitcase they explored. Children looked carefully into cases and around displays to imagine the people who might have used these objects. This activity allowed families to interact with local history and get hands-on with imaginative play.
Bev Oliver, Learning Officer
On Friday, 13 May we took part in the National Museums at Night event. Our evening was themed around superheroes. All the staff dressed up in costumes to help make the event a success. We had help from The Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club who also got into the spirit of the event with some fabulous costumes.
We had over 1000 visitors during the three hour event and it was great to see them all dressed as their favourite superheroes too. As well as an exciting trail to find the different superheroes hiding around the museum, the children enjoyed making their own personalised mask and wrist bands to make their outfits complete.
Bev Oliver, Learning Officer