Youth Ambassadors and 12 museums from across Devon have been taking part in a groundbreaking project for the past year. Called Count Me In, the project asks how young people can positively affect and engage other young people with their local museum. Each museum had their own dedicated Youth Ambassador who have independently developed a project and formed partnerships with local youth organisations.
Projects have been happening all over Devon. Dan and Jenny at the Bill Douglas Centre in Exeter researched the collection and recorded audio telling people what is at Bill Douglas Centre, which holds an enormous collection film history and memorabilia.
At Cookworthy Museum, Kingsbridge, Alice was interested in the museum’s large collection of farm equipment and the town’s strong connection with the farming community, so she asked the local young farmers to work with her to make films and audio recordings.
Sidmouth Museum has beautiful costumes, but visitors are unable to touch them due to their fragile nature. Gemma’s project focused on finding a way for visitors to interact with the costumes. The museum now has a sewing machine and plans to remake costumes.
At Dartmouth Museum, Chantal partnered with the local youth organisation, the school and the museum to make audio guides for the town, on the local history. In addition, each year the town youth organisation runs a history quiz, starting this year the museum will contribute obscure local facts.
Scene Here by Claire (pictured) at Newton Abbot Town & GWR Museum combined social media, an archive and a map into one website, where local people can share stories and photographs (www.scenehere.co.uk). For her work in Youth Arts Claire won the Regional Champion Award with she will hold 2010-2011.
Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has a regularly changing exhibition space. Ann organised the local college to go to London and then combine what they’d learnt into making art for their own exhibition, which was shown at the museum.
Each project has been different, which reflects the huge variations between youth ambassadors and museums, but these unexpected outcomes have enriched the museums as well as new visitor’s experiences.
Count Me In is managed by Redfront for Devon Museums, it is funded by MLA Renaissance South West and supported by RAMM, Exeter City Council
• Upcoming Count Me In events include Magic Laterns at the Bill Douglas Centre, Exeter on Monday, March 14; and the My Thing project exhibition at the Barnstaple museum, which opens on Monday, March 14
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