So, to introduce myself, I am a recently employed apprentice for Work In Progress my name is Jamie Scott . This review, as you may notice from title, is about our mystery shoppers programme which I assist as a support to the coordinators and facilitators and to handle the documentary side of our project.
With our mystery shoppers project we work in partnership with a vast amount of museums to help them attract a younger generation of the community because, lets face it, museums are not a hotspot attraction for young people!
I can speak for myself regarding this matter because I am also one of those young people who had assumed all museums are boring. I suppose I had this approach because I never took interest in them or no one ever suggested going when I was younger. It was all about going to the cinemas or playing pool with my friends, so really museums would be a last choice hotspot to be honest.
So, thinking about the programme, we basically work with museums and bring in a group of young people who will visit the venues and browse the many features it has to offer and then give their feedback on how the museums can make it more attractive to the younger generation!
Some of the young people like to channel their feedback in a creative way (as seen above) so once the young people have had a tour of the venue, we as a group, and the museum sit down and have a group discussion. We spoke about what features they like best also what they could improve on. How they could input changes in order to make it more young people friendly and accessible to all people, who may not be as fortunate to experience the features that the venue has to offer due to certain physical disabilities.
Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum Lichfield This was our first stop in Lichfield one of two venues we were visiting and the first assessment began. As I followed the young people around the building the structure consisted of 5 floors each containing certain historic pieces relating to the man himself Samuel Johnson. As the young people toured the building they took notes. These were then presented to the venues employee’s and we discussed the positives and the negatives. I managed to capture some of the moments which are below.
Erasmus Darwin House
This was the second and our final venue of the day fresh from having our lunch we headed over to the Erasmus Darwin House where we were greeted by a wonderful cared for garden that the venue looked after. Once we had made our way through the garden we were greeted by the employees of the museum and ran through the health and safety procedures.
Once inside, there were suggestions to work your way through the building starting from the bottom floor working your way up. There were two floors to this venue, the young people’s interests seemed to be similar to the other venue, very interested in dressing up! They all managed to influence all the other young people into taking part also the two deliverers of the project Liz Howell and Ruth Richardson. We had a tour of the venue and we had another brief review given by the young people to the employee’s of the venue about their favourite and not so favourite things.
There were a lot of favorites in this venue similar the first, so the review went rather well, the one thing that seemed to be a bit of a let down from one of the young person’s review named Hamsah, who couldn’t access the many features due to a physical disability which meant he was unable to touch or reach elements of the exhibits because it was all mounted in a difficult hard-to-reach way. He was unable to touch, to feel the texture or smell when there were certain scented items.
He was very concerned about the lack of accessibility for disabled people when he questioned why there was a lift for disabled people to reach the second floor but the access out of the lift included steps!
I felt this was a very good point and something the whole group commented on and we reflected on historic buildings and their access limitations.
Regarding the rest of the review, we gave the young people some stationery and craft bits and they were left to construct a response to a project proposed by Ruth and the team. They then fed back their opinions through their creativeness and in ways that they enjoy including written word, mind maps, art pieces and group drawings. This was also reviewed by one the venue’s employee’s. I’m looking forward to the next trip and to hear the outcome and reaction or changes that are made by these two Lichfield venues!