IF you visit the Manx Museum tomorrow (Friday), you’re in for a big surprise!
You’ll find children doing all the jobs that adults usually undertake at the museum.
As part of a British project by charity Kids in Museums, pupils from Years 5 and 6 at St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School have been trained to take over the running of the museum, including leading tours, from 10am–noon and 1pm-3pm during the day.
They will be working on the reception desk, answering enquiries, working with artefacts, monitoring the environmental conditions of the museum’s stores, leading gallery tours and even liaising with the media to ensure the entire day is a great success.
Youngsters Gabriel Kay and Kyle Martin will be acting as assistant directors for the day.
Gabriel said: ‘I think it is going to be a good job. I am really looking forward to meeting the people who make the museum happen. It’s like going on work experience and I will learn skills that I might need when I grow up.’
Classmates Donal Dooley and Jessie O’Connell added: ‘It’s going to be exciting doing something different, getting out of school and doing a real job. We want to help get more people interested in the Manx Museum and we hope that a lot of people will come to the takeover day to meet us.’
All 23 pupils have been working with Manx National Heritage’s community engagement officer, Katie King, for the last eight weeks so that they know how to undertake their job roles for the day.
Takeover Museum Day is an annual event at which museums across Britain are taken over by children and teenagers. The national initiative is organised by independent charity Kids in Museums which aims to help place children and teenagers at the heart of the museums.
Katie explained: ‘At MNH we’re passionate about including young people in our work. Each year we offer high quality work experience and voluntary placements for students keen to pursue a career in the heritage sector and we also have a youth panel MUSE:IOM, who advise the organisation on how to become more appealing to young audiences. We thought it would be a fantastic idea to get involved with Takeover Day to understand how younger children interact with the museum.
‘The pupils have excellent ideas for making the day exciting for visitors, and making the museum more children-friendly in general. Our gallery team have been training our young staff to manage the gallery floors, to be courteous to visitors and ensure the security of our artefacts.
‘We are all looking forward to the day, and hope as many people as possible will come and enjoy the children’s hard work.’
The youngsters’ teacher Claire Stubbs said: ‘The children are very excited and enthusiastic about the Takeover Day and over the last few weeks they have been working really hard to gain the skills they will need to run the Manx Museum. I am hoping this opportunity will give the children a memorable experience that will develop their organisational skills, communication skills, confidence in themselves, ability to work and collaborate with others, self motivation, ability to use their initiative and to take responsibility for their own learning.
‘The children will learn a lot from this new experience and most importantly they are having a lot fun developing the skills that will be needed.’
During the day the museum’s film theatre will be showing a short film specially prepared by Year 5 and 6 students at Braddan Primary School, and also showing is a new Juan Moore animation called The Evolution of Mann.
Also, between 4pm and 5pm, teenage members of MUSE:IOM, will be running the museum and spending some time with MNH’s management team to discuss their ideas for youth engagement. The museum is actively looking for new MUSE:IOM members, and has urged anyone who is interested to get in touch.
Admission to the museum is free. For more information about the event or MUSE:IOM contact Katie on 648035 or visit www.manxnationalheritage.im.
For more information about Kids in Museums visit kidsinmuseums.org.uk.