PICTURES: Children bring museum archives to life

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day

Maddie Howarth (10) & Amy Willetts (9)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day Maddie Howarth (10) & Amy Willetts (9)

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The Manx Museum’s galleries came alive thanks to children from St Thomas’ School.

On Friday, pupils from years five and six (ages nine to 11) took over the running of the museum for the day, sharing with visitors their detailed knowledge on everything from Viking crosses to the life of marine biologist Edward Forbes.

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day

Cetherine Jenkins (10)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day Cetherine Jenkins (10)

They also helped to develop an Archive Code Cracking Challenge, which invites code crackers to track down secret clues hidden around the galleries, crack the code and learn more about MNH’s archives.

The Take Over the Archives Day followed three months of preparation by the children.

Isle of Man Newspapers was taken on a tour of the museum by Poppy Elvin, dressed as a newspaper boy, who had essential information on cards hidden inside her socks, in addition to her already encyclopaedic knowledge.

The first stop was a hospital ward, where Maddie Haworth and Amy Willetts explained that the Manx Museum building was originally a hospital.

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day

Maddie Needham & Ellie Johnson (both 11)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day Maddie Needham & Ellie Johnson (both 11)

Tylerjane Shields was on hand in the Viking gallery to talk about Thorwald’s cross, which shows Odin being eaten by the wolf Fenris.

Lizzy Jenkins told us about the life of Illiam Dhone, asking as the story was about to reach its conclusion: ‘Do you want to hear gory or not?’

Meanwhile her sister Catherine Jenkins invited us to pore over the Act of Revestment manuscript, dated 1765, displaying King George III’s royal crest.

Maddie Needham and Ellie Johnson, wearing matching bonnets, spoke about the reasons why many Manx residents chose to emigrate in the 1800s.

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day

Tylerjane Sheilds (11) & Brianna Elvin (9)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day Tylerjane Sheilds (11) & Brianna Elvin (9)

Rhys Dowling and Preston Cooper were dressed as Victorian holidaymakers, and explained about the populaity of the island’s holiday camps as well as the devastating Summerland fire.

In the folk life gallery, Reuben Thiagarajan showed us replicas they had made of a number of old newspapers that the Manx Museum has in its collection, dating back to 1792.

This task turned out to have been one of the children’s favourites, using a blend of coffee and tea to make the papers look authentic.

Robert Docherty was dressed as Captain John Christian, an officer in the Royal Manx Fencibles, to talk about the local defence army that was set up during the Napoleonic Wars with France.

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day

Reuban Thiagarajan & Poppy Elvin (both 11)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day Reuban Thiagarajan & Poppy Elvin (both 11)

The contribution that 8,000 Manxmen made fighting in the First World War was highlighted by Aalish Dooley.

She invited us to compare the two different uniforms on display.

Finally, wildlife lover Hollie Hazell had chosen to position herself in the natural history gallery, where she spoke about marine biologist Professor Edward Forbes.

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day

Hollie Hazell (9) & Vincent Bevan (9)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day Hollie Hazell (9) & Vincent Bevan (9)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day

Rhys Boals & Preston Cooper (both 10)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day Rhys Boals & Preston Cooper (both 10)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day

Robert Docherty (11)

School children from St Thomas' School taking over the Manx Museum for a day Robert Docherty (11)

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