Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Takeover Day at Castleford Museum

A review by Sarah and Danielle - Front of House at Castleford Museum

What. A. Blast! Our first ever Takeover Day at Castleford Museum went better than we could have ever hoped. After months of planning, a few sleepless nights, marvellous support from Kids in Museums and lots of reassurance from our excellent museums team, we managed to get through the entire day without a hitch.
We first began planning Takeover Day, way back at the start of the year. It was an event that we were both really keen to do and we felt it would be a good way to give something back to our regular young visitors. They always want to help us with workshop ideas so we thought; why not give them a chance to work for the museum for real and see what it’s actually like?

Our young people arrived at 10am and were thrown straight in at the deep end! We gave them a presentation on the different duties of museum professional, such as curator, exhibition designer, learning officer etc., and asked them which role they would like to take on. They then had 10 minutes to collectively agree on a theme for our day, which turned out to be: Vivian Nicholson, our very own ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’ legend!

After some research they planned and designed a new trail, 2 workshop activities, a mini exhibition, and wrote scripts for some role play.

As well as this, they welcomed visitors with great enthusiasm, made themselves ‘Happy to help’ staff badges and excitedly updated social media.


All this before lunch!
After lunch parents and guardians were welcomed back to participate in all the activities on offer. Some parents were making clay microphones and Vivian Nicholson inspired masks, while others were being assisted with our new museum hunt ‘Viv’s Missing Notes’.  Our young people really got stuck in engaging with visitors, answering questions, assisting our toddler visitors with the activities and generally being magnificent museum professionals.


The feedback from our parents/guardians was really positive and they all said they’d had a great time.
(Adele, parent of one of our young people)

 Overall it was a fantastic experience, not just for our young people, who got to run the museum for a day, but for us as Front of House staff. It was an absolute privilege working with our young people. It was heart-warming to watch their confidence grow through talking to the public and leading craft workshops. We saw them embrace team-working, conduct fair decision-making, take on responsibility and develop their planning skills. By the end of the day, we really felt like we had got to know them.
If there is one thing we have learnt through Takeover Day, it would be that the young people in our communities want to get involved in the museum, you just have to give them the opportunity to surprise you.
(And that, generally, young people aren’t as scary as you first think!)