For the last year, Lisa Procter and I have been collaborating with Humber Museums Partnership to think about how research and practice can inform each other, and help us think about the meaning of museums for young children.
I have written previously about the APSE resource we developed for Humber Museums, which is a tool using spatial theory to inform considerations of how children experience museums spaces. You can read more about this project here and here, and excitingly, you can now download the APSE resource itself, here.
Last week, I spent a day at North Lincolnshire Museum, reflecting with staff on the ways our work so far had informed their practice. It was really exciting to see tangible outcomes of the project so far, such as a new dedicated space for under fives in the museum (packed out with families the day I visited, despite the bright sunshine outside). Some other favourite ideas coming out of the Humber Museums project include the Explorer Packs for families, which play with the idea of how children can ‘touch’ (in the broadest sense), or otherwise sensorially interact with exhibitions and spaces. The ‘Five Things’ campaign, in which families are challenged to find or do five particular things in each museum, is such a clear and simple way of both communicating to families what they might enjoy, as well as celebrating the ways in which young children tend to develop meaningful rituals or ‘traditions’ during museum visiting, something which I have written about before in my own research.
North Lincs Learning blog now has a series of posts describing these different initiatives, and tracing the threads between theory, observation, research and practice, a really useful resource for practitioners and researchers interested in this area.