At Gloucester, the nine children, all under 12, firstly had an introduction from Steve Bagley, the museum curator, who demonstrated how fragile objects should be carefully handled; how records are kept on each item and how to retrieve them. When they were shown a selection of mystery objects which we thought would keep them guessing, we were amazed at the extent of some of their knowledge of historical objects. How many 11 year olds do you think would know what a sextant is and what it's used for?
The youngsters looked around the shelves for items from the waterways and in small groups they looked through the file and computer records to discover more about it. Items they picked included a caulking iron and mallet, a lamp, a boating plaque and a very old model of a trow. When they had studied the details of their chosen artifact, they then prepared to share their new found knowledge with the public. We were very impressed on how keen they were to talk to museum visitors and to pass on the information they had unearthed.
We finished the day with a Q&A session with Steve, where they quizzed him with asked lots of questions from; how do you become a curator? to, what is the oldest item in the collection? We think Steve had better watch out for these bright future curators!
Another free Young Curator event for children is being planning for April in both museums. I wonder what fascinating items will catch their eye next time when they delve behind the scenes of the museums?