Categotry Archives: Europe

Teen Twitter Takeover with @KidsinMuseums and @HornimanMuseum


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Last August over 50 cultural and heritage organisations across the UK handed their twitter feeds over to teenagers. Teen Twitter Takeover happened in museums, archives, galleries, castle, historic homes and more. All of these venues offered young people a chance to be Social Media Managers – a role that is usually reserved for adults.

Here’s how one teenager from The Horniman Museum as Gardens approached it with emojis.

Last year, the youth panel had the chance to be involved with Teen Twitter Takeover, and our immediate thought was to try and come up with an idea for the day which was really accessible, fun for everyone involved and appealed to other young people – which lead us to dedicate the entire day to one thing: emojis. People would tweet emojis at us, then we would run around the museum and gardens trying to track down and photograph the real life equivalent. It was an exhausting day (especially when someone tweeted a rabbit found in the garden one minute, and a fish from the aquarium the next!) but our idea got a great response on Twitter and we all had a lot of fun doing it. Continue reading →

Guest Blog by Karan from Florence Nightingale Museum Young Panel


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This is a guest blog written by Karan Ishii about her time at Florence Nightingale Museum as part of the youth panel this summer

100_0052This summer, I had the privilege and pleasure to be a member of the Florence Nightingale Museum Youth Panel in London. Having moved to England the summer before, I had decided to make whatever positive contribution I could give to local organizations. The Panel consisted of myself and two other girls as well as our supervisor, Ms. Stephanie Tyler. As a team, we developed a project for the Kiss of Light Exhibit in the museum, which highlights the role of nurses in light therapy in 20th century Britain. The exhibit, which ends October 23, 2015, tells of the use of sun sanctuaries and direct light therapy to combat diseases and illnesses.

For our project, we had a number of options in terms of angles we could take on this subject. In the end, we decided on educating our target audience of teens about the effects of sun on health through writing passages for a booklet, blog, and infographic. This was our first time working on a campaign and it was a really great experience learning of the workings of a museum especially the behind the scenes work. Hameda and Lydia participated with the Kids in Museums Twitter Takeover day, where they tweeted our journey through our project while educating the public of sun safety.

100_0062During one meeting, panel member Lydia and I worked with poet Simon Barraclough, who wrote Sunspots, in a poetry workshop. The result was a compilation poem that personifies the sun as insistent and loud in mornings but also bitterly considers cloudy, English days where the sun is no where to be seen. I am very proud of our poem, as I have previously had a slight distaste for poetry, but truly enjoyed composing this particular poem.

The lasting part of being a part of the youth panel was enjoying meeting and working with people that I most definitely would not have met had I not decided to join the panel. It was wonderful making new friends and making the small difference that we could and fascinating to learn about Florence and her impact today. With a steady supply of Starburst as our fuel, we plowed through research and came out proud to have been a part of an amazing team!

To see a blog post by panel member Hameda, please visit 

The Florence Nightingale Museum
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Guest Blog: Le Rallye: a new lifestyle – Kevin Offelman-Flohic @kev_firitelleg


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Including visitors in a fun and educational mediation practice.

 The 9th of April last, I held in Châteauroux (France) a rallye for two classes of a ‘ZEP’ (an Education Priority Area). It had its own hashtag on Twitter (#rallyeCHTX). At first I thought I would just write about this particular experience and then I wonder: why just stop at that? Why not write about my experience with rallyes? You have to seize the day they say!

Where to start? Châteauroux is a middle-size town in the middle of France, about three hours away from Paris, along the river Indre.

rallye chtx - France

If you were to visit Châteauroux, you would find a little town, with a medieval past, some preserved heritage (a castle, churches, chapels and an industrial heritage) but no real desire to pass this on. Continue reading →

Talking Objects Collective: Working in Co-production with Community Partners @BritishMuseum


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Written by: Reagan Kiser, Community Partnerships Coordinator, The British Museum

OC final performance 016Talking Objects Collective is an object-based youth engagement programme led by the Community Partnerships Team at The British Museum. The programme aims to bring young people (aged 16-24) together with the Museum and its collections in support of their accredited learning. Since 2012 the British Museum has worked with nine partner organisations, from fashion design students at Working Men’s College, to charities for vulnerable, disengaged, or at-risk young people, including Street League and Dance United. While each group brings their own creative process to the project, one thing remains the same: we work collaboratively to develop a creative response to one key object in the collection, the Lewis Chessmen. The Lewis Chessmen are highlights of The British Museum’s collections, a beautiful and mysterious medieval chess set found on a beach in the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.

OC final performance 063Each Talking Objects project allows an important opportunity for creative risk-taking for its participants, our community partners, museum staff, and also for creative practitioners brought in to support the young people. The responses developed by the young people in co-production with the museum challenge our ideas about what can and should happen in the galleries. For example, we have had heard eloquent proposal pitches for new works of art designed for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, listened to collaborative poems inspired by individual characters from the Lewis Chessmen, and seen fashion designs inspired by patterns on the chess pieces. Recently, we staged a contemporary dance choreographed by young people from Dance United around the narrative of the Lewis Chessmen, and hosted an evening’s site-specific performance in the galleries (using theatre, dance and spoken word to unlock the mysteries of the Chessmen) by young people from OnlyConnect.

DSC_0465Each project is co-produced with our community partner, so that weekly sessions are customised to meet the skills development needs of the group. For example, when working with OnlyConnect, the young people used half of each weekly session at the Museum to develop their drama pieces in the galleries and to engage with and perform for visitors. They worked with a storyteller to focus on key characters in the Lewis Chessmen (from the queen to the knight) and then developed three stories that would encourage an audience (of 50!) to follow them from the Asia galleries to Africa galleries and beyond to reveal the mysteries of the unused chess set and its “lost queen.” Another example is when we met the Dance United group for the first time. We decided with the partners that the best way to shape the project and to build up the young people’s confidence in working with the Museum was to actually take part in one of their intensive dance sessions at their studio. Lorna and I definitely broke the ice this way, and by working alongside the troupe learned about the complex process of choreography and the skills they were interested in developing through the project. From film-making and editing skills, to fashion and jewellery design, we have collaborated with local creative practitioners to develop participants’ responses to the object, and sessions at the museum, and to provide them with new experiences and exposure to career paths. The methodology of Talking Objects is object-based exploration and discussion, so we start with young peoples’ personal connections and ideas about the objects, and end by encouraging them to use the objects and museums on their own terms for their future creative projects.

DSC_0459Perhaps the legacy of this type of collaborative work will be to change perceptions (on both sides) of how young people can use museums, and to raise their confidence with accessing culture and heritage. We also feel that by providing a public forum for the participants’ responses, the young people advocate for their place in museums. As an added benefit, by working closely with our partners who are specialists in youth engagement, we have had the opportunity to share and learn best practice. We have learned new strategies for engaging young people, are more aware of the challenges and rewards of this type of work, and have encouraged our partners to consider objects as dynamic platforms for their own creative practice. The best way to describe the partnership work is to link to an amazing blog post by one of the Only Connect participants about her experience with Talking Objects Collective at The British Museum.

Talking Objects Collective is funded by John Lyon’s Charity. For more information, please contact Lorna Cruickshanks, Community Partnerships Coordinator

Chessmen groupjpg


Engaging Young People: Top Tips for Starting a Youth Panel @GeffryeYouth


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By Eileen Gbagbo, member of the Geffrye Museum Youth Advisory Panel

photo 8On Monday 6th October 2014, I and 5 other members of the Geffrye  Museum’s youth programme and Youth Advisory Panel, also known as the ‘YAP’, co-led the Kids in Museums  ’Starting a Youth Panel’ workshop in order to give our opinions on the Youth Panels, like what makes them successful and how they are run, etc. I volunteered to speak at the workshop, because I have really enjoyed being part of the YAP and I do believe that organisations such as museums, that aren’t exactly associated with or appealing to young people, should have something along the lines of a youth panel in order to break the stereotype. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this workshop.

Before this event, the YAP had created the ’10 Top Tips for Starting a Youth Panel’ booklet. This is meant to be a tool designed to help anyone who is thinking about starting up a youth panel realise the important elements from the young people’s perspective.  The tips ranged from making sure that there was enough food at every meeting to making sure everyone put ideas forward, but in my opinion, the most important ‘Top Tip’ to me was about having unique opportunities within the museum or youth panel so that members could feel rewarded for their contribution. Our booklet was very eye-catching and informative at the same time; you can read it here.

photo 11The workshop started at 1pm, but we met at 12 o’clock just to run over some last-minute things. When the guests had arrived, we and the Kids in Museums staff introduced ourselves and all of the delegates took it in turn to say their name and where they’re from. Next, with the help of Vanessa (Young People’s Programme Coordinator at the Geffrye), we then spoke about each of the ‘Ten Top Tips’ in some detail and explained why we felt they were important in running and setting up a youth panel. After this daunting task, which seemed to take forever, we then sat at a table each in order to talk to those on the table and answer any of their queries.  Then it was the Kids in Museums’ infamous ‘Five Minute Blasts’. This involved 5 speakers, who have had experience with different youth groups, speaking for 5 minutes.  All the participants were then encouraged to write any questions they had on post-it notes, which were then sorted into different categories during the break.  After the coffee break, the delegates then sat on the table with the category which they were most interested in. YAP members sat on each of the tables and answered as many questions as possible. This was really interesting as we really engaged with the guests as they were really interested in running youth panels.  Afterwards, the participants wrote themselves a promise on a postcard which the Kids in Museums staff will post to them soon as a reminder.  Then we all filled in evaluation cards and the event ended around 4.30.

At the event, I learnt a lot of interesting things about youth panels, especially about the financial aspects. Its very hard for museums to get money to fund youth panels, so we talked about possible fundraising opportunities and ways to save money. Overall, speaking at the event helped my confidence and gave me the chance to speak about something quite important to me. Being part of the Geffrye YAP has given me many opportunities and has helped me grow in confidence and skills such as time management and planning and supporting large-scale events. Earlier this year, I also had the opportunity to complete a Silver Arts Award, and through that I have gained a lot of creative skills and arts knowledge.


What is Dig It! 2015? @DigIt2015


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digitWhat is Dig It! 2015?
This is going to be a year-long, country-wide celebration of Scottish archaeology, run on behalf of the heritage sector by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Archaeology Scotland

There is already a lot planned for next year and we are compiling an exciting programme of events drawn from a whole range of organisations (we are taking a very holistic approach to what is considered ‘archaeology’!).

Why are we doing it?
We want as many people as possible to find out about archaeology and to contribute to the big story of Scotland’s past.  This is a past and story which belongs to all of us, and the events and programmes which run through the year will provide people with a range of activities from theatre performances to exhibitions, open days and discovery sessions, so that as wide a range of Scotland’s population can get involved.

What can you do?
We are especially looking for events that actively involve 16-24 year olds, whether that’s those who are in school, college or university or a local youth or scout group.  This part of the programme is still in development, so we are looking for ideas, as well as organisations and groups who want to be involved.

You might have an idea about putting on an archaeology activity or you might just want to be kept informed of events in your area where you could go along and find out more.  We are especially keen to get people out to actually visit sites and places of historical/archaeological interest, and to take some time to explore the heritage around them.

Whatever your interest, if you would like to be involved, then please take a look at our website for more information get in touch with your ideas!

Preservative Party (@presparty) 14-24yo dedicated to History & Culture of Leeds


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imageWe are a youth group dedicated to the history and culture of Leeds, working with Leeds Museums And Galleries. We have the opportunity to see exhibits before they are open to the public and help to change the museum spaces and they way they look and work.

Credited to Bev Cottrell Ellie, JP and James handling and reading about tomb pots.

Credited to Bev Cottrell
Ellie, JP and James handling and reading about tomb pots.

Our members are aged between 13-24 and come from a wide range of backgrounds. We are all volunteers and we meet weekly to discuss our projects such as helping to install the upcoming Voices Of Asia exhibition. We participate in other extra museum events and conferences too and sometimes go on group research trips. Of course, a wide range of refreshments are always provided to aid our contributions to the museum!

Our role is to work behind the scenes at Leeds City Museum, forming an integral part of the museum. In the past, we produced a temporary exhibition called ‘Treasured! Smuggled? Stolen? Saved?’, which drew more than 60,000 people. There will hopefully be another entirely youth-curated exhibition in 2016 to mark the centenary of the First World War. We will beginning early work on this project in summer.

Credited to Bev Cottrell. Connor and Tonicha brainstorming during a group discussion.

Credited to Bev Cottrell.
Connor and Tonicha brainstorming during a group discussion.

Recently, a Facebook timeline has been created by our group as part of the centenary commemorations. The timeline has key dates, events and stories related to the First World War in Leeds. We can add to it or people can contribute their own family stories either through us or via their own Facebook account. The main events are added through milestones with symbols to show what theme they are relevant to. The themes include: military, home front, industry, and the role of women. We invite you to see our latest project at

Furthermore, we organised and delivered some Facebook workshops, these were designed to help people with First World War research and stories to place them on our timeline. This was a great way of getting the community stories to the world! We hope you like our Facebook timeline and please feel free to post/like/share. The Preservative Party welcomes you to send any questions to our Facebook page or to

Preservative Party members helping to design the jewellery display for the upcoming Voices of Asia gallery at Leeds City Museum.

Preservative Party members helping to design the jewellery display for the upcoming Voices of Asia gallery at Leeds City Museum.

By being part of the Preservative Party, we gain valuable experience of teamwork and of how museums work. The people who originally worked on the Facebook timeline also received a Leeds Youth Award, which was presented to them by Councillor Yeadon from Leeds City Council. We enjoy coming to meetings because it is a chance to do something new and different and to meet new people and friends. And of course to drink tea and eat cake and biscuits!

If you would like to find out more about the Preservative Party or are interested in joining the group, please email us at or you can tweet us @presparty. We’d love to hear from you! 

Guest Blog: Geffrye Museum Youth Panel as seen from a Member @GeffryeYouth


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Photogirls Wallace Event 24Jan14 16My name is Rosie Bayliss; I’m 17 and I’ve been a member of the Geffrye Museum Youth Panel (called the ‘YAP’) for approximately nine months now. The YAP is a way for young people (aged 14-24) to volunteer, leading them to gain a vast range of skills, which will later on be transferable to many different roles in the working world. The Geffrye Museum YAP is a very friendly and welcoming group, which means that everyone gets a chance to voice their opinion on the points of discussion. In our last YAP meeting I signed up for a training day on ‘Networking and Presentation Skills’ which was run by the East London Business Alliance (ELBA); this is an example of one of the many opportunities offered.

I joined the Geffrye Museum YAP as I am aiming to gain a career in museum/ gallery education, and I feel highly passionate about getting young people more involved with galleries and museums. I believe it is important for younger generations to grow up and appreciate history and to see how we have learnt about this history i.e. through sculpture, painting and architecture and also to appreciate the arts. The Geffrye Museum Youth Panel allows me to get involved with this; it allows me to get involved with creating events but also the other aspects behind the event, such as the marketing side.

The YAP Take-over event – ‘Royal Wonders @ the Wallace, The Wallace Collection:

 Wallace Event Jan14 92A typical Youth Panel meeting begins with an introduction, everyone is given an agenda sheet, which summarises the different points we will be talking about. During our meeting on Monday 13th January, we discussed further details of our upcoming event at the Wallace Collection, ‘Royal Wonders @ the Wallace’. We had two members of staff from the Wallace Collection attending the meeting, whom we have been collaborating with over ideas for the event over lots of YAP meetings in order to make the event a huge success. I was particularly keen on being involved with this event, as it is similar to the work that I would like to pursue. 

Our event at the Wallace Collection, ‘Royal Wonders @ the Wallace,’ was really successful. The Wallace Collection is a national museum that displays works of art that were collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the 4th Marquess of Hertford’s son. It was exciting to be able to hold an event here amongst many great works of art and it was the perfect place to hold our Royalty-themed event. In our YAP meetings we decided on having six different activities, all set in different rooms. These workshops ranged from ‘The Royal Treatment’, where you could dress up in armour, accessories and gowns and then have a photograph taken capturing your new royal look, to ‘Regal Portraits’ where you could have a caricature artist draw you as a current or past royal figure.  The YAP was really pleased with the outcome of the event and had a great time pretending to be a royal for a night!



UK: Review of the Wallace Collection Youth Event @GeffryeYouth


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Eileen’s Review of the Wallace Collection Youth Event on 1st November 2013

My name is Eileen Gbagbo and I am 15 years old. I currently live in Barking, in Essex (UK) and I go to an all girls grammar school in Chelmsford called CCHS. I’ve been a member of the Geffrye Museum’s Youth Advisory Panel since September 2013. I joined the Geffrye YAP as it was a good opportunity to discuss and run events in the museum in collaboration with other young people. I also wanted to do more volunteering and improve my confidence, public speaking and team working skills.

On the 1st of November at 5.30pm, I along with some other friends attended the youth event at the Wallace Collection, a museum in central London. The event was aimed at University students, however, I was there as part of the Geffrye Youth Advisory Panel to view a youth event being run in the Wallace Museum as, in January 2014, the Geffrye YAP would be running an event there. Also, as I had never been to the Wallace Collection, I was interested to see the collection and the building as I had heard previously that it was very stunning.

The Wallace Collection is a national museum in an historic London townhouse. Most of the displays are of French 18th century paintings, furniture and porcelain with beautiful Old Master paintings and world class armoury. There was a Vivienne Westwood theme to the event. There were workshops such as creating your own masks, face painting and photography. The event was really classy (like the collection). The workshops were really engaging; however, I felt that that the event could have been even more engaging maybe by adding music and more workshops around the Vivienne Westwood theme. I had never seen anything like this, as it was mainly aimed at University students and there was a really nice, mature feeling to the event. From the event I learnt how to make a time- lapse film recording.

Overall, I really enjoyed the event, and having the opportunity to see how an event would be run really helped me and the YAP make decisions as to what kind of workshops and different elements we would have in our own event at the Wallace Collection on the 24th of January 2014.



Reasons Why We Need to Teach Science Using All Subjects by @DianaPitchers


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1.     Science is relevant to everything.

Science can be applied to all things. An early example is green paint in the Victorian era contained arsenic. Arsenic is highly poisonous and the paints emitted fumes. A paper titled ‘How Green is My Valance’ (P. W. J. Bartrip, The English Historical Review, 1994) detailed how as early as 1891 house-wives were falling in and out of consciousness because of the elements potency! William Morris is historically partly to blame for the furore caused as his wall-papers pushed forth the used of arsenic paint and it was he who had familial ties with the arsenic ore mining industry so green was a big pigment in wall-paper manufacture.

Veclcro was discovered in 1943 by inventor George de Mestral who found burrs attached to his dog after hiking. Who’d have thought the biological structure of a burr could be so applicable to us today? It doesn’t stop there either!

2.     Art enables people to make sense of a ‘question’ i.e. what do ‘elements’ look like?

01-Phil-Kirkland--illus.-for-Life-and-Health-(1972)_900Phil Kirkland who rose to fame during the 1970’s is famed for his interpretation of what science means. His art-work was frequently used for CRM’s Biology Today textbook covers.

A more recent example of art interpreting science is Damian Hirst’s Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind 1989 (A shark in formaldehyde), one of his most famous art-works. His art combined scientific techniques with the human ability to question the meaning of life.


3.     Music can be highly immersive.

Putting music in a teaching space whether it is a stage, school hall, the street or an exhibition space can do a lot to grab attention. The Victoria and Albert museums ‘From Club to Catwalk’ (2013) exhibition does precisely that. By using various 1980’s club tracks it ‘pulls you in’ and almost sends you back to the era, its expectations and aspirations. Musicians even incorporate historical events. The band Flight Facilities used news reel voice clips (Richard Nixon’s resignation and Falklands war) combined with music over the decades i.e. 1972-1982 to illustrate the issues and the people which defined that decade.

4.     Museums are social connectors.

Museums hold objects from our past and our future. The Greenwich mean-line is one of the largest examples of this. It is the 0° of astronomical observation in the world and therefore the ‘prime-meridian of the world’ here ‘standard time’ is decided and The Royal Observatory is a true astronomical example of a museum as a connector.  We all rely on it and the abilities we now have to transcend speed and time through modes of transport such as flight are phenomenal.

5.     Performance literally brings science to life.

Have you heard at any point within a Shakespearian play the discussion of myth or faerys? These words of wisdom were usually accompanied with ‘[by] nature’ or ‘everything is just as it is’ (Hamlet). If so you are listening to 16th century science at work. So stand proud people, on top of those chairs or tables (if you are adventurous). Make play at theatre and learn along the way!

6.     Research does not have to be ‘static’.

If you want to find out about anything someone in a museum will have an answer. They will know scientists who are looking for answers to big questions. Send an email, go in and chat. They are the friendliest people on earth. Ultimately you will be able to answer your big questions through their knowledge, archives and understanding.

The Rotunda museum in Scarborough is intrinsically tied to this methodology. William Smith is the original ‘father of English geology’ he helped create the wonderful 19th century building that is the Rotunda. Within you see the results of his research and exhibitions of work relating to those who were inspired by his legacy.

7.     Objects help explain scientific development.

Don’t stand there with nothing! If you hold a compass you can describe the discovery of magnetization to the advent of navigation. The Chinese invented the ‘loadstone needle compass’ which was in use from AD 20-100. How awe inspiring is that? All that power in one now small object!

8.     Creativity can increase a sense of ‘ownership’ of a subject.

Getting ‘stuck in’ by standing ankle deep in boggy water in a field can help both understanding and knowledge development. At first hand you learn science through what you can see. ‘High water?’, ‘let’s measure it!’. Now you start to answer why water levels could change.

Experimentation, the back-bone of demonstrable science can be engaging. You can do it with sugar cubes, blue food colouring! How you ask? What does it show? If you build a wall of sugar cubes and put a few pipette drops of food colouring on the top layer you are illustrating the diffusion of rainfall through soil! It is fun and inexpensive too!

sepiaDress up! Wearing clothes from another era is as much a talking point as any other. From there you can describe how ideals and social parameters effected scientific development. Did you know that Christablle Pankhurst was a qualified lawyer with an LLB? Yet she and other professional women such as scientists were unable to practice until well into the early 20th century.

To Conclude: Science is an interesting subject. Textbooks don’t do it justice. How do you make science lift off the page? Throw in some theatre, art, noise and a space and you’ve got it!

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