Wednesday, 14 March 2018

People and Planet: World Stories over Half Term

People and Planet brought together the Pitt Rivers Museum and Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) for a week of tectonic plates, rock handling, animation and World stories. February Half Term is one of our busiest holidays of the year with 1126 children taking part over the three days of activities, and another 156 coming to the Pitt Rivers for object handling on Thursday and Friday.

Over the week families were inspired by objects from around the world to tell stories, seeing, thinking and wondering about camel intestine pots, milk gourds, snow shoes and rubber tyre sandals.

A pale brown pot with a lid with delicate white patterns on it, including flowers
Camel Intestine Pot, Pakistan, © Pitt Rivers Museum
 The Pitt Rivers ‘animators’ also needed help to animate Grimm’s Fairytale, The Frog Prince in our animation studio. Families were tasked with creating new characters to replace our animation studio’s ‘lost’ puppets for the story, bringing to life the witch, frog, Prince and Princess to tell their own slightly twisted version of the tale. Here's the final animation!

Four puppets featuring: a Prince, a lady, a soldier and a frog
Frog Prince Puppet Stars © Pitt Rivers Museum

This was my first February Half Term at the Museum and I really enjoyed the enthusiasm and life the visiting families brought with them to the Museum, whether they were completing the Mouse Trail or engaging in the week’s special family activities.

I enjoyed challenging myself to test digital activity in the museum and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to engage with the anthropological collection big issues of decolonisation and cultural appropriation. Now is an exciting time for learning in the museum as we reshape our activities to ensure families engage with programming that challenges their perception of cultures from around the world by helping them to reflect on their own. I know we are not there yet, but by ensuring families could read stories, written and illustrated by indigenous communities and created versions of their own cultural stories in the museum, we have started.

Most importantly, I would like to thank the volunteers, Pitt Rivers staff and Joint Museum Volunteer team for making sure that every family could glue, stick, animate, touch and hear stories from across the world.

Our next families event is on the 17th March. This Girl Makes led by designer-maker Hattie Speed invites families to come and make their own beautiful stools. These making workshops are running 10am – 12pm for children aged 7+ and 1pm – 3pm for children aged 10+. There are 10 spaces on each workshop and each family ticket (one child and an adult) is £16.50 and can be purchase here.

Beth McDougall
Families and Communities Public Engagement Officer

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