If you visit the Manx Museum on Friday 25 November, you’re in for a big surprise! Pupils from Year 5/6 at St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School will be running the museum for the day and leading archive inspired gallery tours.
Over the past three months Manx National Heritage has been working with the pupils to prepare for ‘Take Over the Archives Day’. The pupils have been learning all about Manx National Heritage’s archives and will be encouraging visitors to take part in ‘The Archive Code Cracking Challenge’ which they have helped develop.
Year 6 pupil Robert Docherty will be Director for the day, he commented:
“I’ve really enjoyed learning about Manx history and understanding all the information that you can find in the museum’s archives. I really like military history and I’m really looking forward to talking about the Royal Manx Fencibles to visitors on the day.”
Classmates Hattie James and Poppy Elvin added:
“We’re most excited about telling the public what we have discovered about the Isle of Man. We have loved looking at the archives and finding out lots more about our heritage. We’ve especially enjoyed looking at newspapers – the real thing – and getting to handle really old papers. Carefully, of course!”
‘Kids Take Over Day’ is an annual event at which museums across Britain are taken over by young people. The national initiative is coordinated by independent charity Kids in Museums who aim to place children at the heart of museums. ‘Explore Your Archives’ is an initiative led by the National Archives to inspire people to engage with archives in their local area. For this special one off day Manx National Heritage have combined both initiatives to create ‘Kids Take Over the Archives Day’. All seventeen pupils have been working with Manx National Heritage’s Community Engagement Officer Katie King to prepare for the day. She explained more:
“At Manx National Heritage we’re passionate about including young people in our work, and we have had great fun this year merging Take Over Day and Explore Your Archives. I believe we are the first museum in the British Isles to attempt such a thing! The pupils have had some excellent ideas for making the day exciting for visitors and for making the museum more family friendly in general. ‘The Archive Code Cracking’ trail that the children have helped us put together will be running at the museum all winter and we have been very impressed with their creativity. They were clear they wanted the trail to be aimed at slightly older children (8-12 year olds), so it has a more grown up feel. We hope everyone enjoys using it to explore our archives further. ”
‘Take Over the Archives Day’ takes place at the Manx Museum on Friday 25 November and admission is free. To enjoy pupil led gallery tours please visit between 1pm – 3pm.