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Activity Backpacks for Museums


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Activity Backpacks for Museums

  1. 1. Engaging Families
  2. 2. What are they? Backpacks of activities designed around a museum or an exhibit Intended to engage children with collections Types of Activities Hands on Observatory Memory Visual/art V&A Magic Glasses Backpack Photo from V&A Website
  3. 3. Benefits  Engaging Children with museum exhibits Families “Museums can be very one dimensional - … it can be quite difficult for a child to be absorbed….. if you've found ways like in these activity bags to make the actual artefacts [..] come to life, then [children] will remember them.” - mother at the V&A
  4. 4. Objectives Promote an active learning experience for children & their parents Designed to engage the museum displays Bring Families into the museum Contents will ignite children’s creativity and inquisitiveness Increase time spent in the exhibits Provide positive museum experience that will encourage future visits – a relationship with the museum
  5. 5. United States Original idea started in the late 1990s in the U.S. Colorado and Massachusettes Baltimore, Maryland “The idea behind the packs is to promote active learning, involving children and parents with art,” “… they stayed at many of the exhibits longer than they had at any of our previous museum [visits]”
  6. 6. United Kingdom First used at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, in early 2000s. A staff member had seen the backpacks in a visit to the U.S. After the success of the Backpack programme at the V&A, many more institutions throughout the UK have begun to implement their own Backpacks.
  7. 7. Victoria and Albert Museum, London A Museum of Decorative Arts Award winning backpack programme Focus on museum exhibits which are not immediately interesting to children Using a Backpack at the V&A Photo from V&A Website
  8. 8. V&A - 6 different Backpack themes Fancy Furnishings – 18th century British furniture Emperor’s Party – 16th century India Chinese Treasures – Chinese Decorative Art Metal Detector – Decorative Ironwork Antique Detective – Victorian Decorative Arts Magic Glasses – Decorative Glass
  9. 9. Fancy Furnishings Instructions Activities include Period Music and period Manners “personality pots” (personification) Finding animals in period furniture Finding things in period patterns Design your own 18th century room
  10. 10. Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford  “Cabinet of Curiosities” style museum is an artefact in and of itself. Backpack programme was winner of the 2005 Guardian Newspaper Family Friendly Museum Award Judged by children
  11. 11. Fashion Museum, Bath Backpack programme implemented in September of 2007 Handbags exhibit backpack Silhouette matching game Fabric pattern matching game Handbag fabric dominoes Children’s story book on theme Describe the bag activity Handbag on display at Fashion Museum of Bath Photo Fashion Museum website
  12. 12. Fashion Museum Results Children’s and parents’ Comments  One child liked finding the patterns, “It was like solving a mystery” “…like[s] things to look up and investigate. Appreciated, “Anything that focuses them on the detail.”
  13. 13. Fort Frances Museum Discover History Backpacks Fort Frances Museum Small town museum Small budget Backpacks are an attempt to generate more community engagement with the museum Entice more visitors and increase time spent in exhibitions.
  14. 14. 5 Themes Fur Trade Logging First Nations Pioneer Community
  15. 15. Fur Trade Instruction Booklet 5 Activities Silhouette matching game Dress up Guess the object bags Children’s book Memory
  16. 16. Silhouette Matching Game
  17. 17. Dress Up
  18. 18. Children’s Book
  19. 19. Guess the Object
  20. 20. Memory
  21. 21. Fort Frances Test Launch Responses: “Enables us to go at our own pace and learn more than on a quick tour” “Lots of chances for involvement.” “Handling cards…[show] you items you may not notice otherwise” “Good way to examine the display closely”
  22. 22. Engaging families on a budget Activity Backpacks do not require a large budget Do not necessarily require backpacks, activity ‘kits’ can be held in various holders Budget determines the presentation, but not necessarily the content or the efficacy
  23. 23. Trial & Error Instructional guides are key component Instruction should be a clear and concise as possible Labeling very necessary and should be very clear
  24. 24. Key points  Should be free of additional charge Many large museums require a deposit or another form of security Does not directly generate revenue, but intended to entice repeat visits by local visitors Activities should designed to reach different age groups