Thanks to funding from SHARE Museums East, Epping Forest District and Lowewood Museums were able to take part in one of Culture 24’s Action Research Projects. The focus of this project has been to explore how arts and heritage organisations can get better reach and engage young audiences with their digital content. 19 arts and heritage organisations have been working on the project, running a variety of different experiments. The results of these will be put together in a report produced by Culture 24 and accessible to organisations.

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Francesca Pellegrino, Audience Development Officer at Epping Forest District Museum, tells us more.

Epping Forest District and Lowewood Museum’s experiment.

Each organisation worked with a mentor to develop an experiment suited to their organisation. For us we were keen to work with secondary schools as this is an underrepresented group for our service. Trialling a project that might be able to work for this age group was really important.

So our experiment was:

“To run a one-day digital making workshop with a group of 15 secondary school students, to bring a display object to life, as a pilot for developing an ongoing programme for secondary schools.”

After attending a SHARE training session on digital technology and piloting its use in an exhibition at Lowewood Museum (curated by our Youth Panel), this seemed an obvious way to go.

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What happened:

15 pupils from two local secondary schools visited the museum for a one-day workshop, bringing museum objects to life using digital technology. In 4 groups they each came up with ways to make their chosen objects more interactive. These included touchboards, sound, voice recordings and instructions. It became clear that the pupils wanted objects to to speak, rather than just reading information about the object.

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What did the young people say:

“I like creating workshops like this and creating new devices as well as looking round the museum”

“Experimenting with new things and creative technology”

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What else they would like to do?

“More days like this as technology attracts this age range”

“More electronics, devices and making”

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Overall they all really enjoyed the workshop and all successfully produced an interactive around an object. The teachers also found it a really useful and interesting workshop, and were keen to develop this further.

Going forward we hope to access more funding in order to trial a few more of these workshops before rolling out a programme for local secondary schools.

 

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