Northern Ireland Museum Council Museum Beat
Playful Museums Edition
February 2017

Welcome to a special Playful Museums Beat featuring all you need to know about the upcoming Festival for the under 5s

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, the Playful Museums-NIMC Facebook page or call 028 9055 0215”. 

Playful Museums Seminar

Further information can be found at the NIMC webpage.

Playful Museums so far...

Mums, babies and staff enjoy the Baby Café at Armagh Public Library.

Baby Sensory is just one of the events held at F. E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio.

The F. E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio has plenty for toddlers to enjoy too at Toddler Tuesdays. 

Storytelling with Shirin Murphy at Carrickfergus Museum. Micah the Monkey has got involved too!

Carrickfergus Museum also have an early years gallery trail to enjoy.

The songs of Sam Henry brought to life and reimagined at Coleraine Museum.

Sam Henry Bear has been travelling around the Causeway Coast and Glens area telling his stories.

Do you know anyone with early years children who would be interested in Playful Museums? Please forward them this Newsletter.

Playful Museums Festival Launch

Festival Opening Event

3rd February @ 1pm
Carrickfergus Museum

Join us to officially launch the Playful Museums Festival. Find out about the Playful Museums project and meet our museum staff and their early years mascots.

Formal speeches will make way for storytelling and puppets for an informative but fun event!

Bring the children to take part in free play and activities, including Squiggles and Giggles. 

Everyone Welcome!

Please RSVP

Open All Month

Early Years Area Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum

9.30am - 5pm Monday to Saturday
Runs until 28 February
Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum

Early Years Area, Mid Antrim Museum

10am - 5pm Monday to Saturday
Runs until 28 February
Mid-Antrim Museum

Early years area and gallery trail Carrickfergus Museum

10am - 4pm Monday to Saturday
Runs until 28 February
Carrickfergus Museum

Events in Local Museums

Tiny Tots at the Tower - Music, fun and games

1 February @ 10am
Tower Museum, Derry/Londonderry

Crafty Cosy Corner - Arts and Crafts for Little Fingers

1, 8, 15 & 22 February @ 10:30am
Enniskillen Castle

Music, Singing and Movement with Jo Jingles

2, 9, 16 & 23 February @ 10:30am
Enniskillen Castle

Wee Hands on History: Playful Textiles

4 February @ 2pm
Limavady Museum @ Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre

Building Castles with Young at Art

4 February @ 2pm
Carrickfergus Museum

Storytelling Adventures with Cyril the Squirrel!

5 & 12 February @ 2pm
Barn Museum, Tannaghmore

Hey Little Hen - 1940's Music & storytelling for children

6 & 10 February @ 10am & 12 noon
Northern Ireland War Memorial

Baby Massage & Baby Yoga

7, 21 & 28 February @ 10am
F. E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio

Tales from Cosy Corner & Nursery Rhyme Time

7, 14, 21 & 28 February @ 10:30am
Enniskillen Castle

Tiny Tots at the Tower Storytelling

8 February @ 10am
Tower Museum, Derry/Londonderry

Mask Mashup workshops at F.E McWilliam Gallery and Studio

9, 16 & 23 February @ 11am & 2pm
F. E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio

Paul Howard at No 5 Vicars Hill

10 February @ 2:30pm
No. 5 Vicars Hill, Armagh

Toddle at the Museum - Armagh County Museum

11 & 25 February drop in between 11am - 1pm
Armagh County Museum

Tiny Tots at the Tower - Baby Yoga

15 February @ 10am
Tower Museum, Derry/Londonderry

Wellies Stories and Songs

15 & 16 February @ 12 noon & 1:30pm
Ulster American Folk Park

Mini Fest at Down County Museum

16 - 19 February between 10am - 12 noon & 1pm - 3pm
Down County Museum

Toddlers Take over at North Down Museum

17 February @ 10am
North Down Museum

Wee Ears on History: Playful Music

18 February @ 2pm
Ballymoney Museum

Sensory Play Saturday

18 February @10am
F. E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio

Polly Poppet and The Book Trust at Armagh Public Library

20 February @ 11am
Armagh Public Library

Flaxie Buds Takeover!

20 - 24 February 
Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum

Toddler Tuesdays with local artist Millie Moore

21 February @ 2pm
F. E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio

Tiny Tots at the Tower - Walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs

22 February @ 10am
Tower Museum, Derry/Londonderry

Wee Eyes on History: Playful Sam Henry

25 February @ 2pm
Coleraine Museum

Flaxie Buds Bonanza

25 February between 10am & 4pm
Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum

Finding Dory Film Screening

25 February @ 4pm
Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum

Tiny Tots at the Tower: Who am I? Where do I live?

1 March @ 10am
Tower Museum, Derry/Londonderry

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Northern Ireland Museums Council
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Co. Down
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