Children's Gallery Melbourne Museum

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Starting with playFebruary 2017Paul BowersHead Exhibitions

Childrens Room

National Museum of Victoria, 1917

Gone were the Latin names and the high cases. The displays were eye-catching and changed frequently

101 years ago, MV opened the Childrens Room we think it is the worlds first museum gallery with childrens provision.2

The last Childrens Gallery

In 2000, Museums Victoria opened a gallery at its new museum for 3-8 year olds.Our exhibition renewal program had this scheduled to be changed in 2014.The exhibition was popular and well loved by visitors and staff3

2013: Early Years FrameworkMultiple forums with Academics, Policy-makers, Practitioners, FamiliesBuilt our understandingCreated our advocacy positionsDiscovered scale of interest and demandBuilt allies, momentum and credibility

Massive advantage of a renewal program / masterplan we can get planning early.Our Head of Education and CP led a huge consultative exercise seizing the opportunity of the upcoming change

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2013: Early Years FrameworkNational (2011) & State (2009) curriculum:importance of learning from birth, importance of play-based learning, role of educator and parent.Theory (Piaget, Vygotsky, etc)Children learn through playConstructivism: learning builds on pre-existing knowledgeScaffolding: children learn well when assistedNeuroscience underpinning it all

State curriculum is from birth!UN Convention of the Rights of the Child right to play and learnHead of ECP became the lynchpin of advocacy and liaison in this area, and the identified leader internally

Neuroscience quote: Recent research confirms that the first five years are particularly important for the development of the child's brain, and the first three years are the most critical in shaping the child's brain architecture. Early experiences provide the base for the brain's organizational development and functioning throughout life. They have a direct impact on how children develop learning skills as well as social and emotional abilitiesChildren learn more quickly during their early years than at any other time in life. Understanding the stages of child development helps parents know what to expect and how to best support the child as she or he grows and develops Source: Facts for Life 4th Edition; Co-ordinated by the United Nations; http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/03/

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Gallery redevelopment kick offAppointed 2 internal stars Conversational brief development about 5 months of coffee chatsSet 0-5 as the target audience parents as first teacher a guiding principleArrived at the Vision

A wondrous museum place filled with multi-sensory, child-led, play-based learning adventures where childrens minds run free.

Its June ish 2014 1 x Exhibition Producer, 1 x Learning specialist. Set up method of project as being about listening and a relentless focus on the needs of this audience groupNote. No curator. Not talking about what would be in it, talking about what it could deliver and how. OK, now we allocate a full team, bring on designers, project support, operations etc.

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Types of Play1. Symbolic Play eg a piece of wood to symbolise an object2. Rough and Tumble Play3. Socio-dramatic Play enactment of real experiences eg going to the shops4. Social Play play that has rules set between two or more people eg games5. Creative Play making things6. Communication Play play using words or gestures eg charades7. Dramatic Play enactment of stories eg a movie seen by the child8. Locomotor Play movement for its own sake eg chase, tree climbing9. Deep Play risky play to develop survival skills eg lighting a fire with matches10. Exploratory Play see what happens play eg banging, mouthing objects11. Fantasy Play creating a make believe world not limited by reality12. Imaginative Play pretend play eg patting a pretend dog13. Mastery Play constructing environments eg making a dam14. Object Play exploration of an object eg examination of a cup15. Role Play exploring ways of being eg sweeping16. Recapitulative Play exploration of ancestry, history, ritualsHughes, B. (2002) A Playworkers Taxonomy of Play Types, 2nd edition, London: PlayLink.

Taxonomy of play types

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Working with our audienceDevelopmental ages and stagesSitting up ~6-12 month old babies Cruisers ~12-18 months oldsToddlers from 18 months old to 3 yearsYoung children from 3-4 years oldYoung children from 4-5 years oldChildren are co-creators:Asking children to design their dream museumObserving children interacting with experiencesPrototyping interactives and programming

Splitting into age-based sets as a tool to help us think, analyse, define needs, create evaluation groups

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Materials and experience exploration across all ages. Gowrie Childcare & Polyglot Theatre, 17 March 2015Exploring the idea of Camouflage Disco, across all ages. Gowrie Childcare and Polyglot Theatre, 27 March 2015

9What did we find out

Childrens needs & expectationsYoung children: tactileOlder: narrative, games and socialNature focus: rocks, bushes, forest, sea, animals, parksBeing scared (in a good way!), hiding placesBalance between familiar and unfamiliarConstruction activities, dancing / movementPretend and narrative play Sound/music and lightHigh energy spaces/experiences balanced with calmer spaces/experiences to pull back into; and take time out

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Adults needs & expectationsChild and carer playingThe child wants to have fun, feel welcome, free, comfortable, safe, confident that they can do things.The carer wants to be part of childs learning, needs to know what to do.Child playing, carer watchingThe carer expects to actively observe the child explore, learn and be independent.They need to feel reassured that this is OK, that they are not being judged and have a comfortable and appropriate space from which to watch.Child playing, carer chillingThe carer wants to escape, belong, indulge, take a break and socialize while their children are safe. They need to feel reassured that this is OK and they are not judged and there is a comfortable space to do this.

1 x Exhibition Producer, 1 x Learning specialist. Set up method of project as being about listening and a relentless focus on the needs of this audience groupNote. No curator. Not talking about what would be in it, talking about what it could deliver and how. OK, now we allocate a full team, bring on designers, project support, operations etc.

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Tactile, magical, comfortableDesign Brief:Inclusive additional needs, learning styles and diversityMulti-modalHighly tactile with the inclusion of natural materials The consideration of materials/mediums as adding to the overall sensory experience of the galleryComfortable seating, acoustic improvements to the environment. Seating. Sitting on floor. More seating. Clean - durable materials that are robust and cleanableSafe sightlines, pathways, access and egressPace high and low energy areas and activities

Did I mention seating?12

High level overlays of the emerging experience constant reflection by laying the matrices of different needs etc. across the layout and experiences.13

Scared. But not too scared! 1/2

Dream Museum workshop at GowrieMaggie, 3: I like butterflies. A lion, a tiger, a tiger. Evan, 5: Yes! These are the children finding the monster in the bushes. They are scared!Prototype 2Where are the dinosaurs? Are they coming to get me? Genuinely scared, left area. Spider projected onto floor, children ran off as it moved towards them and others stomped on the image

Images: Dream Museum workshop with Gowrie childrenTesting shapes posting, Weevil projection1. Being scared but not too scared.a) Dream Museum: b) Soundscape created with nature soundsc) Camouflage Disco test, set up in Temp Gallery, testing soundscape. Played lions roaring. Marco, 4 Where are the dinosaurs? Are they coming to get me? Genuinely scared, left area. Spider projected onto floor, children ran off as it moved towards them. Others stomped on- not a good behaviour for a museum to encourage?d) Final Delivery: Tiger specimen in corner of Camouflage Disco, lower key sounds (not too scary). Instead of a spider, weevil scuttles across floor. Bush discovery area outside where children can find bronze animal sculptures of native Australian animals hiding

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Scared. But not too scared 2/2Final delivery:Tiger specimen in corner of Camouflage DiscoLower key sounds (not too scary)Slow projection movementsNo spider!

Tiger roars showcase glass v visible

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Posting shapes 1/2

Based on developmental information, children enjoy putting things in and out of containers from 18mths. Also, that toddlers are attracted to faces.

Idea of posting shapes into faces, simple action reaction, getting a sound reward.

Did 2 rounds of testing with 3-4 year olds.

posted in all holes, and it didnt matter if some didnt have sound. Short sounds worked better with clearer overall sound.Adjusted sounds, tested again with families

Once theyd found a noise, would seek it out Found it funnier that some made sounds and others didnt. Younger children participated intuitively from 12 mths, repeated same holes/ sounds.

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Posting shapes 2/2Only some holes have soundssounds are a short durationholes lower down provide younger children with chance to engageWe dont worry about dropped blocks!

Images: Dream Museum workshop with Gowrie childrenTesting shapes posting, Weevil projection

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Safe, welcome

& a caf inside. Any parent who has got an under 5 up, fed, dressed and to the museum deserves coffee!18

The train tunnel. Whooshing.Entra