Gabriele König – Kinder Akademie Fulda
The Kinder Akademie Fulda (Germany) exhibits very familiar elements, like numbers 1 to 10 and eggs and chickens. This allows children to experience well known concepts in various ways in order to get a different sense if the concept. The museum tries to provide them with alternative views. Every now and then the museum team does this quite literally: they give children a tool with which they have a rabbit’s view, for example. Another example is to learn and do as the artist: cut out your own Matisse. The museum team believes that “if children get touched by museums, if they get in touch with lots of different concepts, they will be life long museum visitors in ‘real museums’”.
Marjelle van Hoorn and fellow researcher – Network of Science Museums and Science Centres
The Wetenschapswijs programme (Netherlands) wants to focus on providing children with skills instead of content in order to increasing science literacy. Museums are valuable partners herein. The initiators believe wonderment is the basis to create solutions. They tested this in a small-scale experiment.
One group of children receives instructions on how to investigate a science related phenomenon, where another group of children was to set up the experiment on their own. The second group turned out to be much more creative. In order to figure out the solution, they truly had to understand what they were doing.
One of the facilitators said that she ‘had to let go’; she had trouble not interfering in this second group. Instructors feel like they miss the step-by-step explanation. The researchers had to explicitly tell them to let go. The researchers found that in this kind of approach you need facilitators/teachers that can ask the right questions.
Susanna Pousette Blomé – Eskilstuna Stadsmuseum
The Eskilstuna Stadsmuseum (Sweden) tries to be as gender equal as possible in their municipal museum. Gender equality is a human right. They want children to explore regardless of their gender. In doing so they have to chose carefully which stories to tell. They for example, count the amount of men and women in the pictures and art of their museum and make sure they are equally displayed. In order to promote gender equality, they invite kids to playing dress up in clothing that is suitable for both the sexes. Moreover, they let the children choose artefacts that they can relate to and want to learn about. Around these objects the actual tour or workshop is developed.
David Parietti – Olympic Foundation Cultural Heritage
The Olympic Foundation Cultural Heritage (Switzerland) intents to display an integrated mix of sports, art and education and showcase the universality of the games. The Olympic games are connected with many aspects, history, religion, arts, science, technology, personal development etc. They want to
To this end they developed a travelling exhibition in which everything can be manipulated: Bougez. This was a great hit at the five day event Olympic week. Children could meet experts and athletes. It was an inter-generational encounter. The exhibition is still travelling at the moment.
Daniele Carná – Kunsthalle Bratislava
The Kunsthalle Bratislava Slovakia) is a non-collection institution that displays contemporary art. The museum intents to reflect the Slovakian society. Moreover, it aims to bring contemporary art closer to children in a playful manner, for example via easy tasks in workbooks. They make use of characters which guides children through the mysterious and entertaining world of art. In one of their latest exhibitions this is a hare that discovers Kunsthalle’s secrets the young visitors.
Anna Tiedink – Zuiderzeemuseum
The Zuiderzeemuseum created an educational programme called: WhatsAppening Zuiderzee that makes use of WhatsApp. The app is developed for high school pupils that are enrolled in practical tuition. These kids rather work for their teacher instead of for themselves. They are able to work together, but their attention span is very short. Moreover Dutch is not always their first language.
The set up is simple: pupils form groups and they make a WhatsApp group. The teacher is part of all the WhatsApp groups. Then they wander through the museum by themselves. The teacher sends the groups ready-made assignments via WhatsApp. The kids send their answers in the form of text, photo’s or movies. The children are appointed roles; for example being cameraman or director.
The app, combined with the assignments stimulates to look closely. The museum asks teachers to participate in the conversation: “You’re in first place, but the other groups are close” etc. Pupils receive instant feedback. Teachers’ feedback that is they feel connected to their students and were amazed by how creative they got. The pupils’ feedback has also been very positive.
Orna Granot – Israel museum
In order to celebrate it’s 50th birthday, the Israel Museum devoted an exhibition to the concept of birthday celebrations. Time is a hard thing to grasp for children the museum, but birthdays are something quite tangible for most children. What is the narrative of the birthday? The museum displayed the start, the middle and the end. Moreover, they experimented with hands- off instead of hands- on parts in the exhibition. Furthermore the museum team tried to capture, the past, the present and the future with the help of camera’s taking printing photos of people blowing out candles.
Timo Epping – National Museum of Antiquities
The National Museum of Antiquities (Netherlands) underwent a large-scale renovation, which took seven months to finish. The museum team asked itself: how to fill a seven-month gap while the museum is under construction? They decided to create a pop-up museum where they would host lectures and workshops. Moreover, they took their museum to the classroom. They took the Cabinet of the classics with them: antiquities on the road. They brought replicas into the classroom so the pupils could have hands-on experiences and were able to recognize the originals in the museum. Here it became quite obvious how important it is to have replicas of in your collection. They updated the children they met in the classrooms about the renovation and invited them to visit as soon as the renovation was done. The visits were such a success that they decided to continue this after the renovation has finished: “We recreate Roman armies in the classroom. We create experiences for a day, but memories for a life time.”