The Playful Museums Festival 2017 is here!
Following months of training, pilot projects, planning and promotion we are ready to launch!
You may have seen Playful Museums in the Belfast Telegraph, NI4kids or Culture NI and plenty of other online and media outlets. Museum staff have distributed event leaflets in their local area and our Facebook page reach is growing every day. Equipment relating to collections and fun for under 5’s has been purchased and facilitator’s have been booked. Look out for the logo below displayed on museum doors to let visitors know that they are visiting a Playful Museum.
Events and activities for young children and their families will be taking place throughout February at 17 museums across Northern Ireland. The aim of this new festival initiative is to show museums as valued places for enjoyment, fun and learning, especially for the younger visitor.
Beth Frazer, Programme Coordinator said: “I have been impressed and inspired by the museums imaginative and interesting ideas for the early year’s audience. This project is fairly new to most of us and as usual our local museums have not disappointed with their programming, enthusiasm and hard work.”
Beth added, “The festival will last from 1st-28th February with free, drop in and bookable events for 0-5 year olds. Programmes are designed to encourage early years learning and development, but most of all its fun."
Sarah Carson speaks to the camera about Coleraine Museum's experience of Playful Museums.
Recent activities at our pilot museums include:
Toddler Tuesdays at F.E McWilliam Gallery and Studio where interest in the drop-in event has resulted in bookings being taken in advance to keep up with demand.
The Carrickfergus Museum ‘Playzone’ is increasing in popularity through word of mouth in the town. One local mother commented that it was “a hidden gem”.
Coleraine Museum continues delivery on their popular Sam Henry theme to local nurseries, pre-schools and sure start groups. Last week we visited Coleraine to capture some footage of workshops in action and the experiences of museum staff which will be shared soon!
Armagh Public Library and No.5 Vicars Hill have been welcoming their youngest local visitors accompanied by Mums and Dads who had never visited them before.
The Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum has been capitalising on their Nursery Advisory Group work and booking in a range of sessions based on Linen with their mascot ‘Flaxi Buds’ for February.
It’s been a busy run up to the festival. NIMC are looking forward to seeing the results from the 17 museums across Northern Ireland who have received funding to deliver, what we hope will be a very successful first Playful Museums Festival.
You can find Flaxi Buds at The Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum
What is Playful Museums? – Fun for under 5’s
‘Playful Museums’ is a programme for children under 5 years, their parents and carers, linking them with their local museum. The project is organised by the Northern Ireland Museums Council with funding of £99,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Beth Frazer, Playful Museums Programme Coordinator said, "This exciting project has opened up local museums and their collections, showing them as inspiring places for young children. We hope that the Festival will encourage even more parents to bring their young children to enjoy the museums activities on offer”
Prof. Elizabeth Crooke, Chair of NIMC, said “Playful Museums not only supports local museums in developing services for a new audience, but it enables museum staff to increase their knowledge and confidence so that the benefits of the programme will be sustained in the future. This project is a first step and NIMC is seeking to build capacity to ensure that children continue to use and enjoy museums for years to come.”
Paul Mullan, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund NI added their endorsement of the new project “Museums and young children are the perfect combination. One group has a treasure trove of material and the other has creative, inquisitive, open minds ready to explore. We were delighted to use money raised by National Lottery players to fund this new project and we look forward to seeing all the imaginative fun activities that spring from it”
For more information and to find out what’s on in your area visit nimc.co.uk, the Playful Museums-NIMC Facebook page or call 028 9055 0215”.