Talking, travelling, waterways and summer fun!

Family enjoying craft activities at the Herbert

 In my previous blog I mentioned the work the Herbert learning team have been doing to prepare for upcoming temporary exhibitions and the schools programmes we offer to go along with them. Well that is all still happening, but I thought I’d give you a catch up on how things have been going. 

1. The From Here to There exhibition is now approaching its final week of being on display and so far I’ve gone through 13 guided talks around the exhibition and have another 5 to go, which all means it’s been a very good success. This was the first time we have catered guided talks around an arts exhibition to Secondary schools, so it was new ground for us, but the school groups who have visited have all said how they felt the benefits of the insight into the art works and how useful it was to the pupils’ development and research work, so hopefully it is an area we can explore again in the future. I have personally thoroughly enjoyed leading on this project, as I have an arts background myself and I am a particular fan of Tracey Emin and Marc Quinn, 2 of the featured artists. 

2. Our travels around the country have continued in our quest to research how museums are delivering the subject of Ancient Egypt to school groups. Two of my colleagues recently visited the British Museum in London and I have just visited Bolton with another colleague to meet with one of their learning officers. It did require both of us being on the train at 6am and 3 changes along the way, but it was well worth it, as Bolton museum is one of the sites who are going to be lending the Herbert artefacts to contribute towards our Secret Egypt meeting so it was very interesting to see how they bought the topic to life with the use of handling collections, costume and different activities around the gallery. 

 3. One of our History learning officers has been leading a one off learning session this week about life on the canals to coincide with our latest temporary exhibition, An Inland Voyage, which is showcasing photography by Robert Longden. Our Science and Arts learning officer and me were helping out with this session, which involved arts and crafts work in the morning and going around the gallery space, along with the object handling and discussion based session led by the History officer. In the afternoon we had the intention of relaxing a little more as we walked up to Coventry’s canal basin for a nice ride on a narrow boat. However, having 27 year 4 children on a narrow boat, at a time, causes quite a lot of excitement for them, so it was a constant stream of calling out “don’t stick your head out the window”. Regardless of that though it was very worthwhile as the children had a great experience, and something that was very different from their usual way of learning. 

4. With the school summer holidays fast approaching, our family learning officer is busy making preparations for the family activities that will be going on here. The office is slowly filling up with materials that are being collected to go towards the arts and crafts activities, egg cartons, tissue boxes, yoghurt pots and who knows what else. Plus big orders are coming in from outside companies with craft materials, ready for the children being able to make felt faces, magical face masks, Royal wax portraits and lots more. Plus there are object handling sessions being organised for families and story telling sessions, so it really is go, go, go before the schools break up. 

All of this is in addition to our permanent learning activities that happen around the museum, so you can see we are kept very, very busy around here! I love it being like this because it means my day is filled with the things that I enjoy doing and I feel like I have achieved a lot with my day, but it does still tire me out at the end of it, so, for some quick tips of how to deal with the busy times on a museum learning team, have a read of these: 

1. Have a constant supply of coffee to keep you going.
2. Have a constant supply of tea to keep you calm.
3. Chocolate every now and then does make the day a little bit more merry
4. Ask for help…… even if it’s just with setting up a room for an activity or carrying boxes of objects from one place to another.
5. Leave the building…… don’t stay inside all day long, take a break at some point and get some fresh air.
6. Make to do lists to keep on tops of your tasks.
7. When you get home…… RELAX! 

Just before I sign off from this blog for the day though, I just wanted to put a quick message out there to say good luck to one of our Learning Officers, Rachel, who is going off on maternity leave in two weeks and welcome back to our other Rachael who is coming back to us after being on maternity since last August……we should open a nursery for all these babies!

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Posted on 12/07/2010, in Families, Learning and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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