On Wednesday 20 November, year 8 students from King Harold Business & Enterprise Academy, took over the running of the museum as part of Takeover Day.
Visitors took part in a tour, activities and a trail all devised and led by the students, and were in charge of our Twitter and Facebook accounts for the day.
Three students were even interviewed live on BBC Essex radio – something they only found out about an hour before going on air.
The 10 pupils worked with staff, in a series of preparations days, to learn more about the day to day running of the museum; they were given a behind the scenes tour, handled objects from the collections, created posters and content for their tours.
They themed their take over around climate change, linking it to the current Ice Age exhibition; this period was a natural form of climate change, comparing it to now as more manmade through global warming.
One gallery had been declared a ‘no go zone’ to represent how, through climate change, parts of the world will disappear and be submerged in the oceans. Another gallery was filled with one week’s worth of rubbish to show how much waste each household has and to encourage visitors to recycle as much as they can.
One activity the year 8s run was to make little trees from cork, a cocktail stick, beads and ripped paper. Each tree represented a real endangered tree and was given a label with details of where the tree currently survives and why it is under threat of extinction. This small forest of trees will be on display until the beginning of December.
A word from the students
We asked the pupils what they did as part of Takeover Day, what they enjoyed and what they learnt that surprised them about working in a museum – here are their answers:
Mark: I did the tours [and enjoyed] all of it.
Rhianna: I was posting on social media updating Twitter and Facebook for the public and update our #takeoverday . I enjoyed making captions and doing the social media.
Obinna: I did a tour, [and enjoyed] doing tours and being on the radio.
Dmithry: I did the tours with Mark, [enjoyed] all of it and [learnt that working in a museum] is really fun.
Joni: I took part in the tree activity. I enjoyed making trees and helping others make them. I was surprised that I was going to be on the radio.
Louie: I advertised outside, I had a go at a tour, I spoke to the chairman and helped people make trees. [I enjoyed] speaking to the chairman 1 on 1 (I found that really exciting). I’m quite good at advertising and drawing people in.
Lilly: We learnt about climate change and we done tour and other jobs that people who work here do. [I enjoyed] everything. I learnt a lot about climate change and how people work in the museum.
Rhiannon: I was posting on social media updating Twitter and Facebook about our takeover day. I enjoyed making the different captions for our tweets and taking the pictures, I also enjoyed spotting our woolly mammoth. I learnt how much work, effort and time goes into the takeover day.
Archie: I made trees, helped with snakes and ladders and made a poster. [I enjoyed] making trees. [I learnt working in a museum] is easy.
Takeover Day is a national celebration (created by Kids in Museums) of young people’s contributions to museums, galleries, arts organisations, archives and heritage sites. It’s a day on which they work alongside staff and volunteers to participate in the life of the organisation or venue.
To find more, visit https://kidsinmuseums.org.uk/takeoverday/