Every year we look forward to welcoming families with children aged 5 and under to Normanby Hall for our festive Tinsel Tots events.
This year we ran four of these sessions over two days and welcomed almost 60 families!
We had a wonderful time singing songs and rhymes, enjoying a Christmas story, hunting for stars hidden around the hall and lots more.
All of this took place in front of the lovely roaring fire in the entrance hall filled with beautiful Christmas decorations to provide a magical setting for our families.
This year we added lots of cushions and rugs in front of the fire so that families could join in with all the activities together and we added some exciting sensory baskets and bottles for our youngest participants to enjoy.
We chose a Christmas tree theme and enjoyed looking at the huge Christmas trees in the hall before making our own decorations to take home.
We thoroughly enjoyed running Tinsel Tots!
Rosalind Brian, Learning Officer Under 5s
This Autumn we have been working with researcher Abigail Hackett from Manchester Metropolitan University to explore how families with young children aged 5 and under use and experience the museum. We hope that this will help us to identify the strengths of our museum for young families and to understand how we can cater for them even better in the future.
We arranged for a group of local families to come to the museum for a visit once a week for four weeks. We worked in partnership with NLC Adult Community Learning to recruit families. Sarah Johnson, Family Learning Development Assistant attended visits and assisted in their smooth delivery. We were also very grateful for the support from Rae Twidale at Westcliff Drop- in who helped to recruit families and provided free transport.
Over the course of the four visits Abigail observed what the families did at the museum. She looked at which objects or displays grabbed the children’s attention, what they said and did and how they behaved in the different museum spaces.
Most of the families who took part had not visited North Lincs Museum before and it was wonderful to see how their confidence and sense of fun as they explored grew week after week.
On the last visit Abigail made a list of over 40 ‘things we enjoyed doing at North Lincs Museum’ that she had observed the families enjoying over the visits. Interestingly the list included lots of physical things like ‘making the automatic doors open onto the courtyard’ or ‘tapping and banging windows and surfaces’ as well as more obvious things like ‘looking at the skeleton’ or ‘touching the fossil rock’. We were keen to celebrate these aspects of physically exploring and being in the museum spaces just as much as those that related more directly to the objects or displays. These are an important part of young children ‘s exploring and becoming confortable in a new space.
Our partner museum services in Hull and East Riding are also carrying out similar research visits at their venues and a compiled report showing all the findings will be written when all the visits are complete.
We are really looking forward to seeing the results of this research and how it can help us to make North Lincs Museum an even better place for families to visit.
Rosalind Brian, Learning Officer Under 5s
North Lincolnshire Museum Service takes part in Takeover Day every year. This year it was at Normanby Hall Country Park with three students from St Hugh’s Communication and Interaction College.
The students were working on a conservation project with Sarah Plant, the Housekeeper at Normanby Hall. The Hall is closed to the public during winter and all the items of furniture, objects and pictures are cleaned and conserved to keep them in good order for the future. The chandeliers have to be lowered down from the ceiling and each individual glass droplet is taken off and polished. This is what the three students spent the morning doing.
After a demonstration from Sarah the young people set about the task with a great deal of enthusiasm. As the students worked, Sarah talked about some of the history of the Hall. The young people found this really interesting and asked lots of questions. One of the girls wanted to know how long Sarah had been the house keeper and what her favourite part of the job was.
When the students had finished cleaning the chandelier, Sarah took them to see the oldest chandelier in the dining room. The chandelier was lit up and looked spectacular. The students were amazed by it and spent several minutes looking at it.
All three students enjoyed their time at Normanby Hall and comments included ‘This place is awesome.’, ‘I would like to work here.’ and ‘I am going to come back soon.’
We would welcome future projects with St Hugh’s Communication and Interaction College as both the staff and students got a lot out of the project.
Rachel Holmes, Learning Officer