LAST Friday, November 18, was National Museum Takeover Day, in which children took over museums and art galleries across the country.

If you were to enter the Salford Museum and Art Gallery on November 17, you would have been greeted politely by a nine-year-old, asking if he can be of any assistance. Takeover Day, in short, puts children into various roles in museums all over the country, led by the charity Kids in Museums.

Ceri Horrocks, Heritage Development Manager of Salford Museum and Art Gallery, worked with children from a local Salford school.

She said, ‘We worked with a year five group from Lewis Street Primary School, which is one of our local schools. Basically they’ve taken over all the jobs in the museum!’

These roles included front of house at reception, working with objects and artifacts, paintings and a little team of journalists, who were live tweeting the event throughout the day.

Children showcasing objects would inform guests about historical objects such as a typewriter or a button hook, while the paintings experts would gladly march you around the gallery and teach you about its exhibits. While the detail was small, it was expertly told.

The children had a week of preparation for the day beforehand, giving them specialist knowledge they were very enthusiastic to tell you about.

Horrocks said, ‘We’ve done several training days with them, and they’ve also had to write job applications for the jobs they’d like.’

The Heritage Development Manager said, ‘We wanted to work with a school in more depth- we welcome children every day to the museum but we only see them about once a year when they come with their school.

The children also had the opportunity to meet the museum’s chief executive and their gardening team, in order to get a feel of all the jobs available at the museum. She expressed her belief at the importance of museums working with children, not just for their own good but for the museums too.

She said ‘It was nice to get our members of staff who don’t always get involved with the schools to come and help. We’re hoping to give them [the children] a wider idea of what’s out there in terms of jobs, opportunities and an experience of the workplace.’

Overall, the day was a success for the museum. Horrocks described how they had many visitors across the afternoon, and the children have shown their confidence and ability.

She said, ‘It’s been running very smoothly, and the children have been fantastic. They’ve worked really hard.’

Across Salford, the same event also went on at Odsall hall on the Friday, the official National Takeover Day. The Salford Museum and Art Gallery held their event a day early, as they are not open on Fridays.

Kids In Museums has many other exciting current projects, including their Flexible Family Ticket, and Teenage Film Projects.

By Anna Greenwood

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