Personal Museum Kids is an experience designed for children to have a more playful yet attentive, more engaged and personally meaningful interaction with artworks in museums. It is designed to let children spend time in a museum with a higher level of attention and engage with works of art through direct association with their own life experiences. The programme has three modules — three possible focus areas: “My Museum Book”, “Storytelling journey” and “Exploring the senses”. If you are interested in a background story of this project, please have a look at Personal Museum info page here.
Museum through a book
This experience is built around a simple book that we design for a specific museum, connecting art history and curiosity about a personal experience of the artworks of every child. We wish to inspire kids to approach the artworks closer, to sense and feel them, to let them reflect children’s own lives back to them. These books include a variety of exercises and games that encourage kids to look closer at the artworks, to sharpen their attention, to express their personal vision of things and draw something themselves, to work alone and with a partner, to play a movement game and to be still, and so on.
Exploring the senses
In the world where we so often live in the digital and virtual, this module is about exploring sensory perception. Children spend a lot of time in front of the screens, and sometimes for hours a day they just use their eyes to gather information. The visual sense is very direct, it shows us “what is” and does not leave much room for the imagination. The sense of smell, touch, hearing, taste, allow us to perceive reality around on multiple levels, to develop attention and experience the world around through the integral relation of senses with each other, as well as experience how they are allied with the notions of the body, emotion and cultural memory. Looking at the paintings or sculpture or other artworks is only one part of the experience. What olfactory memories do artworks evoke in kids? Can they interpret artworks in smells? How about the sounds? Following a variety of warm-my-senses-up exercises, and depending on the subject, this module will focus on kids creating their own smells or sounds of the artworks.
This module is designed as a game for attention, interaction, association, and creation. The entire experience can be for a group between 3 and 20 children, and lasts between 1 and 2 hours. There is an exhibition of participants’ improvised works at the end of each game. It creates a reflective space to increase self-awareness, to notice inner resonance with the artworks, to exchange with others. We develop an ability to notice and reflect upon our feelings and motivations without the immediate need to act upon them, as a real-life situation would require. The process is summarised in these pictures:
Impressions from the editions at Neues Museum Berlin and Naturkunde Museum Berlin
Header image by Violeta Lopiz