Tag Archives: guest blog

Part #4 Reflective Essay: Teen Ambassador @nmafateens

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Continuation of Teen Ambassadors Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art Guest Post

Amyra Demonstrating Project Math FestNote: This post was written by Amyra Hasan, a student in the Teen Ambassadors Program, to fulfill the requirements of her capstone project for the “International Studies and Law” academy that she is enrolled in. It is a reflective essay about her experiences during the training portion of the Teen Ambassadors Program.

For most people, Africa began when the Europeans decided that the continent was merely a meal they could slice and take for themselves with no regard to the millions of rich and proud people living there. They devoured Africa, ravaged it, and had the audacity to blame its poor condition on the people themselves. For a lot of people now, Africa and black America is still perceived that way. I, as an Asian, have virtually no ties to this continent. I, as an American, could have easily swallowed this imperialist narrative, the product of a Eurocentric education system, without thinking critically about it and moved on with my life. The problem is that I choked on it.

I could not accept this so passively. Africa is the cradle of humanity; surely it couldn’t be as simple as this right? I kept this idea tucked away in the back of my mind as I refocused on getting through the end of junior year. Afterwards, it came up again as I was considering my career path and my future college plans. I had my heart set out to be a humanitarian working to improve the lives of people in less developed countries like Indonesia, my own country. So far, I joined an International Studies and Law program, but I needed something more concrete. I needed something that would give me firsthand experience with different cultures other than my own, something that would simultaneously aid in developing practical skills and broaden my worldview.

Working as a teen ambassador for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art not only fit all of these requirements exactly, but it also answered these burning questions I had about Africa. I gained confidence when I gained friends in such a short span of time. I developed my social skills as I slowly got to work more and more with the public. I came home with newfound passion that I realized I hadn’t felt in years: talking excitedly about everything that happened that day, feeling satisfied and productive as I watched those previously empty weekend hours fill up quickly with schedules.

Even though the artistic aspect of the program was not initially my main interest, I realized art is much more valuable than what most people, including me, give it credit for. Art can be a conversation starter into deeper issues about society, which is precisely what I plan to do as a humanitarian and advocate. I may not work specifically with African countries in the future, but it was especially during this experience I vowed to do my best to bring awareness to the hundreds of diverse societies living inside it. I want to show people that Africa is not one monolithic culture ravaged by disease and poverty, but it is just as capable as anyone else of producing unique and beautiful art. On a general level, I want to show people that all art is equally beautiful and equally valuable, just as all people are.

This is really what extracurricular opportunities, such as the Teen Ambassadors Program, strive to achieve. As Americans, we don’t realize the enormous amount of privilege we have. Our public education system teaches to standardized test after standardized test, leaving no room to learn to appreciate the world for how it is and to learn how to make it a better place. By experiencing Teen Ambassadors as an extracurricular program, I learned that practical experience is just as crucial to being a well-rounded person as a classroom education. I refuse to be passive about the ideas I consume. Like getting nervous before a tour, I must learn to hold it down and speak with conviction, to take an active role in my life so I can help other people do the same in theirs.

 

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 →

Part #3: More Lessons Learned and Big Questions from Case Study @nmafateens

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We’ve been quiet on the Teens in Museum blog about the Teen Ambassadors Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been busy. Quite the contrary! It’s been a busy few weeks for our Teen Ambassadors, as we launched into the nitty-gritty of training: learning the building blocks for a tour. In the meantime, we’ve also had the opportunity to provide our students with special opportunities, such as the chance to attend the press preview and opening for the Divine Comedy exhibition, and a chance to sit down with our head of Public Affairs and chief librarian to discuss a range of careers available in museums.

Over the past few weeks, our Teen Ambassadors were ask to select two artworks in our Conversations exhibit that they loved, and then respond to these pieces. They then researched these artworks and pieces, and then gave a five-minute talk in the public galleries on their findings. After we gave the students feedback, each student chose a partner whose selected artworks corresponded with his or her pieces. The students then worked on discussing comparisons between the pieces and elarning their partner’s works. These pieces will be the building blocks of their tours. Our work with the students over the last few weeks has provided us with several “lessons learned” and reflective opportunities.

Lesson #1: Get all relevant medical information from your program participants.
One of our participants has a reoccurring medical condition that occurred while at our program. Although it was not serious, we had no prior knowledge on this condition, or on any other medical conditions or allergies that the students have. From this incident, we learned that we have to collect documentation on any medical conditions or special needs that might affect our programming. For future teen programs, we plan on beginning with a parent meeting, where we will provide confidential worksheets for parents to fill out regarding medical conditions and other information. It seems obvious in hindsight, but in our rush of planning curriculums and envisioning a program, we overlooked this basic step, and we definitely learned a lesson we won’t for’et.

Lesson #2: Provide specific guidelines about what we want from the teens.
When we assigned the students “Interpretive Challenge” research assignments on two artworks that they selected from the Conversations exhibit, they were the five-minute gallery presentation we wanted them to develop. While the student presentations on a whole were really good, the students’ research was not as rigorous as we’d have liked to have seen. Our “Interpretive Challenge” activity was modified from an exercise completed by our adult docents. Many of our adult docents have advanced degrees and intensive experience in the art world, so when we tell them to “research a piece of art”, they more or less know to draw a broad context around the piece. When we asked kids to do this, they provided really rich interpretations based on their observations and own worldviews, but some of their readings lacked in artist biographies, theme of the exhibitions, and art historical context. While we did some research on our own to add some facts to these pieces, we’d like the kids to do this research in the future. To do this, we realize we need to ask our kids to answer very specific questions in their research (such as “give three facts about the artist”). For our first round of Teen Ambassadors, we helped write up some additional research and interpretation for them, but this led us to grapple with our educational philosophy and led to our first big question, which we think might be shared by anyone doing a basic program.

Big Question: How much of the tour should be generated by us, and how much should be generated by the kids?
We have a great group of kids; they make great observations when given the chance to closely look at art and objects, they are wonderful storytellers, and they aren’t afraid to let their personalities shine through when talking about art. It was a highlight of our program to give them a chance to research and study pieces and take some ownership over their pieces, and then have a chance to teach their peers about these pieces. However, there are certain basics that we believe that every gallery experience facilitated at NMAfA should include, and certain contexts that we as interpreters should pass on to audiences who are familiar with art but may be new to non-Western art. At the same time, we don’t want our students to be reading off a script. So how to balance? We’ve been experimenting with scripting certain elements of the student’s tours—introductions and conclusions, for example, which we’ve noticed that any new docent or educator may struggle with—and we’ve given them additional facts to sprinkle through the gallery. It’s still a give-and-take process as we experiment with what works and what doesn’t, so we look forward to thinking more on that in the next few weeks.

Lesson #3: Spend as much time as possible in the galleries.
Many of our early sessions were held in our executive conference room, but I realized when the students were giving their gallery presentations that they seemed much more relaxed in the conference rooms than they did in the galleries. As it’s Cherry Blossom season in DC, the past few weeks have been really crowded with tourists. Couple that with some really sensitive alarms in the gallery, it’s no wonder that the galleries are unfamiliar and a bit scary to the kids (honestly, during the Cherry Blossom Festival, the galleries are a bit scary to me!) Our last session was spent almost entirely in the galleries however, and I realized the need of being in the galleries as much as possible in the future. I like to think of learning as one of the more elevated blocks on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In order for learning to happen, the more basic needs—comfort, security, etc—need to be met. By providing kids the opportunity just to hang out and be themselves in the gallery, we are building their comfort levels so they can properly study and learn the artworks. They’ll then be able to convey that to the audiences that they’ll start working with in the next month.

Speaking of the future, we’re onto recruiting for a summer class of Teen Ambassadors! Reflecting as part of the Teens in Museums blog has been very beneficial for my own program planning, and I look forward to having the chance to implement my own lessons learned.

Photos:Teens at Press Preview

We’ve been trying to expand the range of opportunities available to our Teen Ambassadors by tapping them into other Museum events. Here, Teen Ambassadors Nick and Emily attended the press preview for The Divine Comedy. Emily writes for her school’s newspaper, and will write an article about her experiences. Both had the opportunity to mingle with museum staff, artists, and professional journalist.

Julia presents in the gallery.
Julia Gallery Presentation

Amyra, Emily and Nick after the press preview.
Nick Emily Amyra

Guest Post: Reasons to be Silly by Angharad Bullward

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI can be a serious person, honest. I have had my museum blog for nearly two years and I have written about a wide range of topics including; reviewing historic sites, discussing the latest development in the sector, recording my own archival research and how I would run my fictional castle(Ok the last one was a bit silly).  My most read post to date is about a subject that is very close to heart of many people I know; the state of the job market in the cultural sector. Nearly 150 people completed my survey that illustrated the difficulties in securing employment in a very competitive sector that contradictory offers extraordinary job satisfaction.

In complete contrast, my second most read post to date is one entitled ‘10 things everyone thinks when they go to a museum.’ An entry that consists mainly of photos of things I think at museum and only took a mere fraction of time to write compared to the Career Survey. It features serious questions as ‘Am I too old to dress up?’ and ‘Didn’t they film that show here?’ I have yet to come across anyone that disagrees with this, which is somewhat reassuring.

I don’t know how prevalent the idea that museums are stuffy old buildings filled with boring ancient exhibitions is anymore. It isn’t my area of museum expertise but the post was meant to show the lighter side of the heritage sector. I am not always thinking about that when I visit as there are museums I been to that deal with sensitive subjects where such thoughts never cross my mind. I didn’t also include comments that pop up as someone who works in museums and has a degree in Heritage Management  as they were a bit too niche (they included spotting typos in interpretation and comments on queue managing systems – exciting yes?).

I have really enjoyed the feedback on this and it’s great to have struck a chord. I know I haven’t really explained the ‘Reasons to be silly’, the title of this post but surely the whole point of being silly is not to conform to such traditional expectations.

 So if you see a tallish women with long curly hair in her mid-twenties eyeing up the dressing up clothes in a museum, there is a pretty high likelihood it’s me. Care to join?

Angharad Bullward, can often be found getting overexcited in a variety of heritage sites and museums throughout the United Kingdom. On her blog, she documents her recent trips and musings, attempting to engage people with heritage regardless of whether they regularly go to museums or not.  

Guest Blog: Courtauld Institute of Art Young People’s Programme @CourtauldYP

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Introduction:

Nottingham 1The Courtauld Institute of Art’s young people’s programme is unusual in its function compared to most other galleries. The Courtauld itself has two sides: the Gallery that holds a world-renowned collection spanning 900 years, and The Institute which is the leading centre for the study of art history in the UK. It is this meeting of a gallery and higher education that gives the young people’s programme a specific framework to work within. Known as ‘widening participation’ within the UK higher education sector, this has become one of the key aims of The Courtauld’s new Public Programmes Department since it was established in June 2007. This aim is that not only art and culture should be available to everyone whatever their economic background or personal circumstances, but studying at The Courtauld should be within all young people’s reach.

As a small, single-subject university teaching art history, which is mainly absent from state school curricula, The Courtauld Institute of Art faces an unusual challenge in its widening participation programme. Taking on this challenge we have a number of programmes including Art History Beyond London. Established in 2012, this programme builds partnerships with schools and FE colleges outside London. The sessions are designed to raise awareness of contemporary art history, at the same time as promoting The Courtauld as a potential university destination. They are held in part at schools and in part at local art galleries including Nottingham Contemporary, Site Gallery, and Manchester Art Gallery. Twenty students attended the pilot of this programme, held in Nottingham, and I am now happy to report that two students from this took up a place on the BA course in September 2013, and another will begin in September 2014.

One of these students wanted to talk to you about her experience of the Art History Beyond London programme, so here she is!

Sheffield 2 I first heard about The Courtauld Institute of Art through my History of Art A level course at New College Nottingham after discovering that many of the artworks I was studying were at The Courtauld Gallery. I later experienced the Institute itself through The Courtauld’s outreach programme, Art History Beyond London, a number of workshopsheld at New College Nottingham. The day included learning the methodologies of art history, how to read an image,a curation mini-task and visit to Nottingham Contemporarywhere I was exposed to video artist’s Mika Rottenberg’s video art. Her exploration of capitalism’s cruelties, closed communities and the hardship experienced by labourers in a world of globalisation drew me further into the concepts in modern art.

The day was a rare opportunity to speak to a representative from The Courtauld to understand not just the possibilities that The Courtauld Institute can offer but also gave me a stronger grasp of what it could be like to study art history at a higher level in general.

After this, I attended the Insights into Art History workshop at the Courtauld Institute itself. This was a wonderful experience that confirmed my new ambitions. It was great to be able to experience a real university lecture and seminar session. We also received interview and personal statement advice.

Nottingham 2Ultimately, the partnership between New College Nottingham and The Courtauld gave me the knowledge and confidence that I needed to pursue my current course. I also believe it has not just benefited those of us that have directly applied to The Courtauld or even a history of art degree but to others applying for other various subjects. History of art in itself is a multidisciplinary subject and I believe the study day taught us all valuable skills in critical, verbal and visual analysis amongst others. The leaders were not at all intimidating despite coming from such a prestigious institute; they were encouraging and the support provided on these workshops gave me the confidence I needed to continue on to higher education.

Meghan Goodeve, Young People’s Programme Coordinator (job-share with Alice Odin) & Art History Beyond London alumna and current BA student at The Courtauld.  

Email: education@courtauld.ac.uk //    Twitter @CourtauldYP

 

The Youth Arts, Culture and Heritage Event @thinktankmuseum

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Guest Blog by Holly Beaumont-Wilkes

1969132_10152674295817388_1324597657_nThe Youth Arts, Culture and Heritage Event aimed to provide young people across the West Midlands with a forum for debate about leadership and decision making opportunities in art, heritage and culture. Organised and run by Priority 5, an Arts Connect West Midlands pilot research project formed entirely of young people, ‘The Event’ also aimed to mobilise the next generation of young leaders by encouraging and inspiring them to have their say about local arts, heritage and culture.

1383793_10152674287787388_1507369606_nAs a Steering Group member, it was great to be part of a project that embraced young, creative talent instead of patronising or dismissing it. We were able to express our opinions and help create an event that we would actually want to attend. Young people were pressed to utilise their talents by taking control of different parts of the day, such as being in control of social media or designing the event space.

Special guests included Jake Orr, Artistic Director and Founder of A Younger Theatre, who spoke about his own experience of youth leadership and decision-making. We also had inspirational speeches from Anisa Haghdadi, Founder and CEO of Beatfreeks, and Dan Bridgewater, Founder and CEO of Fourth Wall Theatre Company. It was really motivating to hear speeches from young people who had already made their mark on the West Midlands arts, heritage and culture scene.

1234664_10152674289657388_1958559226_nThere were debates, workshops and performances throughout the day as well as opportunities for young people to share their stories and ideas. Arts, heritage and cultural organisations from across the West Midlands were also invited to provide information on volunteering, internships, apprenticeships and careers. The day was rounded off by an after party with an open mic that showcased local talent.

‘The Event’ was a truly inspiring day packed full of passionate young people who were dedicated to help shape the future of arts, culture and heritage across the West Midlands. It made me feel like my opinions do truly matter by creating a safe medium in which I could share them. It has inspired me to continue to look for leadership opportunities in this sector as I now believe my skills and experiences are valuable, and can help to make a difference. I am very proud of everyone who worked so hard to make this event happen, and very privileged to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this project.

If you would like to join the Steering Group and be part of the movement, please contact Ruth Richardson on Ruth.Richardson@wlv.ac.uk or 07837 734275 for more information.

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!

 

 

Guest Blog: @TeenArtGallery Cabinets of Wonder: The Art of Collecting

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Guest Blog: Charlotte Lee, Director T.A.G.

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 10.04.13 AM

Nina Naghshineh, Shoe 2, clay, acrylic paint

Last summer, Teen Art Gallery received an email from the staff at The Children’s Museum of New York, asking about the possibility of a collaboration. T.A.G director, Charlotte Lee and team member, Cliff Tang sat down with them in the Fall and came up with a plan. The museum had a show of professional artists planned for February called Cabinets of Wonder: The Art of Collecting. The museums Youth program, Young Artist Kollective, (grades 6-9 ) were working on creating pieces along the same lines of the theme. TAG sat down with them to brainstorm. We taught them a bit about our curatorial and submissions process and then we presented them with a selection of works that we felt fit the theme. This was not simple because many of our submissions did not relate exactly to this theme. The students, however, found connections, made their selections and a show was born called Assembling Identity: Who We Are, What We Collect.

It includes art from the museums YAK program and 6 T.A.G artists :  Kaleigh Acevedo,  Savannah Carlin, Sasha Frolova, Henry Liddy, Mary Munshower, and Nina Naghshineh

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Mary Munshower, Happy Birthday, digital photography

Teen Art Gallery is a unique gallery created entirely by teenagers who curate and organize it. T.A.G’s mission is to give teen artists the opportunity to have their artwork exhibited in a gallery setting.  Teen Art Gallery provides a public platform for teen voices.  Since its founding in 2010, TAG has mounted 7 exhibitions in New York City of artists ages 12-19 and is in the planning stages of a show for June 2014

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.

DamianHirst

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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