Categotry Archives: teens in museums

Guest Blog: Mindspot – Make It Your Library in Denmark


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LogoBy Lisbeth Mærkedahl, Librarian and Coordinator for Mindspot, Aarhus, Denmark

How do we involve young people in our program?

In The Main Library in Aarhus, Denmark we work with the questions above. We want to turn the library into a relevant and interesting partner in the lives of young people (between 14 and 25 years old). We want to be a creator of opportunities and an initiator of conversations. To do that we realized, that we needed to hire young people (mindspotters).

Banner 043Our intention is to involve young people in the whole process from the idea-generating over the planning to the execution. And we want the library to be the producer and the young ones to be the innovators and performers.

We have done a lot of activities fx:

–       AFTRYK

  • A portrait book of young people in our town – made by mindspotters and volunteers

–       Tattoo at Den Grimmeste Festival

  • Try to tattoo on pigskin. Creativeness arise when context and materials are new and different

Groupwork–       AUSFAHRT 12’

  • 8 concerts around in the city  from a van bed  – with one winner band

–       Information seeking and retrieval

  • Visit school classes and do exercise with them – with roots in their needs

–       Workshops fx scratch, drawing and cup cakes

AusfahrtThe outcome for the library is manifold;

–       External partners and branding

–       Engagement, professionalism and constant challenges for the employees

–       Library transformation

You can read more about Mindspot at or

How useful is social media for raising awareness about the Holocaust and genocide #WLdebate


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Guest Blog from Katy at Wiener Library

wldebateTo mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2013, the Wiener Library’s Young Volunteers hosted a special debate about social media. Ten young people aged 16-25 came together to discuss the question ‘How useful is social media for raising awareness about the Holocaust and genocide?’. Chaired by the Library’s Community and Outreach Officer, the following questions formed the outline of the debate:

1)    If it’s ‘social’ media, is it suitable for raising awareness of a sensitive topic such as the Holocaust?

2)    Are there differences between the ways social media can be used to raise awareness about the past as opposed to the present?

3)    Memorialisation, learning and taking action? Can social media do anything more than awareness raising?

4)    Where should social media be placed amongst traditional methods of raising awareness of the Holocaust (eg school teaching, museums, films, literature)

gabriella_julia copy

Credit: Ben Turner and The Wiener Library

5)    Are certain types of social media better than others for raising awareness of the Holocaust and genocide?

6)    If we can’t control what gets written on Twitter, is it actually useful at all?

7)    Where do you see the role of social media in the future in terms of raising awareness of the Holocaust?

Some of the key points from the debate were published on the Wiener Library twitter account so the wider public were able to engage with the debate. The responses can still be seen (and replied to!) by searching the hashtag #WLdebate.

Credit: Ben Turner and The Wiener Library

Credit: Ben Turner and The Wiener Library

Lots of interesting points were made but the overall consensus was that social media was a useful ‘way in’ for people in terms of raising awareness. They argued that it had the potential to capture people’s attention and inspire them to learn more as well as take action. One attendee was less positive and worried that social media was a ‘shallow form of engagement’, but that didn’t mean it was not useful, just that it was useful for catching attention rather than deep and meaningful learning. Someone following the discussion on Twitter argued that writing a survivor story in 140 characters (regarding the Holocaust Education Trust’s ‘ask a survivor’ Twitter chat for Holocaust Memorial Day) would lose the historical context, but the group argued that the fact people were asking survivors questions at all via twitter showed some level of positive engagement.

After the debate finished, it was suggested by the attendees that a new online presence was created for them to carry on their discussions. The Library consequently created a debate group on Facebook for those young people and others to discuss ideas and put forward potential future debate topics. We will be holding another debate in the autumn so keep following the #WLdebate!


Using Online Courses to Connect Teens to Museums @NCMATeens


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ncmateensContinuing with our ‘sharing of social media and other online activities’ to engage Teens and Young People, Michelle H. Harrell,, Coordinator of Teen and College Programs at North Carolina Museum of Art shares their online courses available in North Carolina.

If you’re reading this blog, you may already know the challenge museums face reaching local teens. When given the challenge of reaching teens across a state spanning 560 miles (900 km), the issues are challenging. Our museum has discovered how online courses can offer a tool to connect teens to their state art museum in rich and meaningful ways.

As a statemuseum, the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA has initiated a variety of concept-driven programs for teachers and schools across the state. Through a grant-funded collaboration with the North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS), we have created a series of online high school credit courses at no cost to students enrolled in a public school in NC. Rather than offering traditional art history courses, we offer a variety of popular subjects, such as game design, videography, fashion, advertising, and photography. Visit to learn more about each course.

These online courses combine object-based approaches in the galleries with project-based applications. Works of art are used as catalysts for learning. Each course meets the following goals. Students will…

  • Build learning and innovation skills while increasing media and technology skills.
  • Engage with the art collections of the NCMA regardless of their geographic location across NC.
  • Participate in educational programming at the NCMA, both during and after enrollment in the courses.


Videos of artists and curators combined with exciting projects and discussion forums create authentic experiences for students to construct meaningful connections to the work. Each week, students learn new concepts, connect these concepts to a work of art, and then create original work that synthesizes what they have learned. For instance, in our “Art of Photography” course, students master technical agility of photographic processes while developing aesthetic perception and creativity. In the first module of the course, students learn about artist intent while understanding how a camera’s lens operates. Students watch this video featuring Chris Drury’s Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky to hear his artistic approach and watch a timelapse of how the small aperture projects the outside of the park to the walls of the sculpture.

Enrollment in these courses has doubled each year. The pilot course offered in Fall 2010 had only 60 students, but the current semester has over 300 students enrolled. By the end of next school year, we expect the enrollment to exceed 500 students each semester. In only three years of offering these online courses, over half of NC’s school systems have had at least one student enrolled in our program.

ElizabethMOn-site educational programming draws upon the themes of these courses. From symposia, residencies, field trips, and events, students have multiple entry points to engage with our museum. We just celebrated the debut of the Art of Photography course with ArtScene, which is our teen event  held each spring at the NCMA. Students enjoyed photography activities, a polaroid photo booth, live entertainment, and a student exhibition from the course.

As our program grows, we are interested in collaborating with other museums to contribute to the field of online learning. How has your museum incorporated online learning to connect to teens? What other museums can be used as examples to engage teens through distance learning? Join the conversation by adding comments below or contacting me directly (

NCMA Social Media

Museums, Teens and Social Media: @TeenArtGallery


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tagRecently, I’ve been asking for Teen groups to share how social media fits into their program.  If you would like to share your views, please let us know.

This is a response By Charlotte Bravin Lee, age 17 Director and Curator of Teen Art Gallery.

I don’t particularly embrace technology. Most of my friends are better with computers than I am. I have always preferred a pencil and pad or a paintbrush and canvas.  I was the last to give up my flip phone in favor of a smart phone. But a year ago, when I became the director of Teen Art Gallery, I realized I wanted to increase awareness about our group. At the time we had about 350 “likers”.  My goal was to double this number within a year – and we have succeeded. I found that the more posts we created with images attached really helped. We used pictures from our various openings. We posted young teen art work. Every time we share a post from another museum group, we earn new “fans” and increase our profile. Continue reading →

Diamond Friends Forever Guest Blog: second follow-up @DFF_DiaMu


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by Brent Blockx and Nathalie Brejaart

DFF-logoLast time we elaborated on the matter of selecting our youngsters. Our DFF-crew has been selected and now we’re submerging them in the world of diamonds. We took them to the Diamondmuseum of Grobbendonk. That museum displays a lot of materials that are used in the process of cutting and preparing diamond. There are a lot of personal stories to be found in the museum as well. The museum really shows the impact of the diamond industry in the province of Antwerp (diamond wasn’t only a big industry in the city of Antwerp, but in the province as well).

Next week we’ll take them on a tour through the “Diamond Square Mile”. That’s a neighbourhood of just one square mile (obviously), but it can be considered as the epicentre of the global diamond industry. There are a ton of companies, institutions and jewellers situated in that area, all occupied with just one thing: diamonds. Normally it’s pretty difficult to get an inside view of those companies if your not an initiate. So, that we’ll be an interesting experience for the DFF-crew.

With the input they got at Grobbendonk and the Diamond Square Mile we’ll start the difficult process of deciding on which story/stories to tell in the pop-upmuseum. More on that process in the following blogposts.

Besides the input we’re giving the youngsters, we were working on securing a location for the pop-upmuseum. As you can image, a very important task indeed! The location had to meet a few criteria: easy accessible, located in the town centre, spacious enough to display everything, the possibility to add things to walls, ceilings,… and off course safe enough to display valuable museumartifacts. You would think that it would be easy to find such a place in a big city as Antwerp, at least that’s what we thought. How wrong we were! It turned out to be a pretty difficult task, but we can now say: we found the perfect location! And the location is… KAVKA.

logo_kavka_cmykkopieKavka is an organisation that exploits a big infrastructure (an old schoolbuilding) that youngsters can use/rent to organize parties, courses, small events,… They are open to all sorts of initiatives. During summer there is a lot less on their calendar, so the coming of the pop-upmuseum is an ideal opportunity for them to fill up a quite period in their working. In Antwerp, Kavka is well known among youngsters, so that’s a big plus as well. The location definitely meets our demands (provided we change a few small things) and Kavka is very excited, as are we! We’re pretty confident that this collaboration will work out great.

The selection of the location was one of the elements of the project that the youngsters didn’t have a say in. The main reasons for this choice were that we started the search for a location before we had selected the youngsters of the DFF-team, due to limited time. Besides that, the location had to meet certain demands, as mentioned earlier, concerning safety and accessibility. This was something we ourselves, Nathalie and me, were limited by as well. The safety-coordinator of the province had to screen and investigate every location. When you’re working with diamonds, you just can’t take any chances. Eventually the decision was made by Nathalie and me, our mentors from AmuseeVous and the Diamondmuseum and the safety-coordinator. We went over the different possible locations and based the decision on different pro’s and con’s concerning every location. Eventually, Kavka came out on top.

For now we’ll continue preparing our youngsters and preparing ourselves for the tasks still ahead of us. And you can still follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Next time we’ll elaborate on the subject of social media a bit more as well. How and why we use it and if it helps our project.

Feel free to ask questions or share your ideas on the project! We would love to hear them!



HYPE Haslemere Young Person’s Exhibition – Search for Best Practice


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The Hype (Haslemere Young Person’s Exhibition) team are a group of young people aged 11-16. Lately we have gone to other museums to see what they have for young people so we can steal their ideas. We visited Brooklands, the Covent Garden Film Museum, the Hunterian (part of the Royal College of Surgeons) and the London Transport Museum.

They don’t have a youth group at the moment, but are keen to start one so were interested in our ideas. We liked the hangar with the Wright Brothers replica and the other planes that we could go on. The volunteers were also very informative. We also liked being able to go for a ride in an old car on the original banking of the racetrack. Unfortunately we were not old enough to visit the Bus museum, a museum independent of Brooklands, without an adult.  We were disappointed as when we did visit (with an adult) we could see no reason for this restriction. We also felt the site itself wasn’t very attractive.  We thought it would be a really good place for a youth section who could help with restoration projects and at events, as it could be a really hands on experience and they could do large exhibitions.

Continue reading →

Diamond Friends Forever Guest Blog: first follow-up @DFF_DiaMu


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DFF-logoby Brent Blockx and Nathalie Brejaart

In our first blog we introduced the DFF-project. A lot of elements were unclear then and are still now. But! Last weekend we had our first meeting with the coregroup of DFF. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. How on earth did we gather these youngsters?

We’re currently in our fifth week of our internship. Our primairy goal when we started was launching the call for youngsters to participate in the DFF-project. AmuseeVous already launched the call the week before, using there normal channels (facebook, mailing,…). Nathalie and me set out to reach a wider audience. Therefore we contacted a lot of organizations and schools. The organizations varied from art- or culture organizations to organizations working with youngsters in troubled situations. The schools were mainly the colleges from Antwerp and the university. We also contacted a few high schools trying to reach youngsters studying something that has nothing to do with culture or art. Continue reading →

Guest Blog: Diamond Friends Forever (Antwerp, Belgium) @DFF_DiaMu


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Brent Blockx (24) and Nathalie Brejaart (23) are currently in their final bachelor year Social Work, specilazation Art- and Culture Mediator. The DFF-project is the main goal for their internship and also the subject of their bachelor paper. Both already completed a bachelor as teacher and are active in different cultural organisations.

The Diamond Museum of Antwerp is temporarely without a home. They had to leave their former building to make room for the expansion of an event hall. This, evidently, posed a huge problem…

Where could the collection be displayed now?

DFF-logoThat’s were we, Brent & Nathalie, come in to the equation. We are doing an internship for AmuseeVous, an organization that tries to bring youngsters and museums/culture closer together. For our internship we were already thinking of designing some sort of pop-up museum with real museum objects. The fact that the Diamond Museum went without a building created an excellent opportunity to join forces.

So now we’re given the chance to build a museum from scratch, using objects from the collection of the Diamond Museum. We can tell you this: that’s more than we dared to dream of! Every aspect is left in our (hopefully) capable hands. But we’re not going to do everything ourselves.

In order to create the best experience for youngsters (age 18-26) we are currently attracting other young people to join in. We launched a call that we’re looking for DFF: Diamond Friends Forever. Those Diamonds Friends will form a coreteam (approxamately 10 persons) that will be the principal thinking tank. Nathalie and myself will coach these youngsters.

This bunch of different characters are given the opportunity to spill every crazy idea and thought on how a museum must look and what it must do to be interesting for youngsters. Thus truely creating a museum by and for young people.

Everything is up for discussion: from labels to lighting, from entrancefees to guided tours. The feedback we can gather from this temporarily museum will be used for a publication and will be implemented in the Diamond Museum once it has found a new home. The efforts from the Diamond Friends will be put to good use and not only result in a ‘one-time-thing’.

2013-02-13 11.54.58We’re currently prospecting possible locations for the project in the heart of Antwerp. A few totally different options already passed the revue: an old vault from a former bank, an empty static manor, a youth hostel, a few abandoned stores… We’re trying to look beyond the ‘typical’ locations. But for now our search continues. The location is one of the only elements that the Diamond Friends can’t decide on. And that’s purely because of a limited timeframe and from the point of security issues.The timeframe in a rough draft is as followed: at the beginning of March we’ll set up our think tank of Diamond Friends (which we’re currently selecting). The Diamond Friends will work on the preparations for the pop-up museum till the end of may. Leaving june to set everything up at the location and to prepare the opening which will take place on the 29th of june. The pop-upmuseum will be open from then till August 31st.

You can follow us on Facebook (DFFDiamondFriendsForever) and Twitter (DFF_DiaMu) to be kept up to date of the project. For more on the Diamondmuseum of Antwerp click here. More information on AmuseeVous can be found here.


Guest Blog: OutStories Bristol, LGBT local history in Bristol, England


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Working with schools to provide new interpretation for OutStories Bristol’s Revealing Stories ExhibitionMshed, Feb 2nd – March 3rd 2013.

Hello, I’m Mark. I’m a volunteer for OutStories Bristol, which is a group that focuses on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) local history in Bristol.  We’re about to set up our exhibition, Revealing Stories, especially for LGBT History Month 2013, about LGBT history in Bristol over the last 70 years.  Our exhibition is being hosted by MShed museum, part of Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives,

revealing-stories-web-flyer-A6-200We started a year ago, collecting material culture, newspaper clippings, oral histories and research that relates to the city’s recent LGBT history.  We asked local people, museums and the Bristol Record Office for anything they could provide so that we bring it together as a single collection at Bristol’s newest museum.  It was amazing the amount of material culture, scans of documents, and newly created artwork we received and how much research we were able to do.

We wanted to ensure that our exhibition was accessible to everyone, not just LGBT people, or their family and friends, but everyone.  To help promote this, we worked with the Learning Team at MShed and invited local schools for a sneak preview of some of the exhibition, the students provided us their own interpretation to show their understanding, and to provide another layer of understanding for other students of a similar age, whether LGBT or not. As well as increasing the value of our exhibition greatly by broadcasting new, young interpretation, the work with schools also contributes to the ongoing work that the Bristol Museums’ Learning Team undertakes with local schools.

revealing-stories-web-flyer-A6-300-backThe schools worked with us in two strands – firstly, small groups of students from two schools contributed to the Revealing Stories exhibition with their own interpretation of the objects, and their thoughts and feelings based on their experiences of LGBT issues at school.  Secondly, young historians at GCSE and A-Level were invited to reinterpret parts of the permanent MShed displays to reveal ‘hidden’ LGBT stories behind them, tying our exhibition into the rest of the museum, and LGBT history in with the rest of Bristol’s history.  Examples of the discussions contributed by the schools for the Revealing Stories exhibition include ‘the history of the word gay’; ‘the colour pink and gender-stereotyping’; personal stories about ‘self acceptance and identity’; how Ian McKellen and Lady Gaga have changed the contemporary school-scape in terms of sexual orientation and acceptance; homophobia in British Football; and commentaries to go alongside Bristol Pride objects included in our exhibition.

We’re so pleased and proud that we’ve been able to connect with students on this project.  Considering the sometimes brutal history of LGBT people in Bristol, it’s really wonderful to celebrate, and openly discuss contemporary LGBT issues with young people, to receive such positive stories and well-thought out interpretation.

[The ‘Revealing Stories’ exhibition is running at MShed from 2nd February-3rd March 2013 to coincide with LGBT History Month.  The MShed is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm.

Mark is a volunteer for OutStories Bristol, in his other life he works leading a heritage project focussed on youth empowerment and encouraging young people to take responsibility for heritage assets.] 

Working with Teens / Youth Panels


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logo_mpMuseum Association is running a Young People campaign as part of their Museum Practice (see here).

One of the things that strikes me is there are so many wonderful panels, groups, etc that have been created over the last few years and I can’t help but think:  What took so long?  Simon Stephens talks about this in the article The Young Ones.

Are you a member or do you run a Teen / Youth Panel?  Feel free to join us on Facebook and Twitter.  We want to share – ideas, thoughts, things that worked, things that didn’t work, and anything else you want to talk about.



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