On the 20th of November 2015, museums all over the country took part in the Kids in Museums’ ‘Take Over Day’. This involved a class of children coming into the museum and helping us to run it for a day! We entertained a local year 2 class from who helped us make sure the National Waterways Museum was running smoothly.
In the morning the class got to learn about putting on an exhibition – using our handling collection and some inspiration from our ‘Ellesmere Port’ exhibition, they put together an exhibition entitled ‘Bernie the Boatman and his family’. We split the class into different groups, each completing a different element that helps to create an exhibition.
After lunch, the class split into smaller groups and had a taster of the other roles in a museum. They learnt all about the work that goes on in our boatyard, and had a go at painting roses onto wood, as well as taking a trip to the archive and learning about historical importance. They also go to meet our Collections Manager, Margaret, and learn how to handle the precious objects in our collection. Finally, they also met Graham, our Museum Director, who explained all about the important decisions he has to make, as well as giving them a chance to spin in his chair!
Although not directly related to Window on the World, Museum Take Over Day was a great way to get the local community enthused about their local museum. Part of the Window on the World project is getting the local community involved in the museum and taking pride in their waterways heritage – something that Museum Take Over Day was excellent at doing! Lots of the children wanted to come back and were sad that we were closed until February – so hopefully when we reopen we will have lots of new visitors! It was definitely a success and we are looking forward to making it an annual occurrence in the Museum’s calendar.
The National Waterways Museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of artefacts that tell the story of Britain’s canals and navigable rivers over the last 300 years. With sites at Ellesmere Port and Gloucester, the museum holds over 12,000 historic objects and 68 historic boats and is designated by the Arts Council England as of national importance. The National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port is also home to the Waterways Archive including over 100,000 papers, drawings photographs, plans and books relating to the waterways – a vital part of our national cultural heritage.
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