Kids in Museums Takeover Day with St. Michael’s School

Posted on by Fay Curtis.

Naif Pierre, Engagement Assistant

Photo of children with an iPadHoorah! 21 November marked Takeover Day and we had a great time with the year fives from St. Michael’s Primary School. We were also joined by Kids in Museums Trustee, Liz MacKenzie for the day.

They had all come to test the Hidden Museum prototype app designed in partnership with Aardman Animations, the University of Bristol and us museum folk. Once finished, the app will encourage groups of people to interact with the museum in a totally different way.

Through the ‘Our Museum Programme’, we took the opportunity to share decision-making with young people in fun and interesting ways using technology to open up the hidden treasures of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.

What were we testing?

The children were divided into two groups. The first group helped us test a trail called ‘Horsing Around’ where we looked for horses displayed, sketched, etched or hidden in objects around the museum. Trails like horsing around will provide content for the app.

Photo of children at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

“I enjoyed where you had to find the horses and discussing them,” Lia, aged 9 and a half

“I loved app testing and walking into walls!” Mina, aged 9


The other group helped us to test how easy it was to use the compass tool. They gave their feedback on how it could be made more user-friendly. They also gave comments on what games they enjoyed playing and why. Their comments were useful in helping the team improve the look and feel of the app.

At the end of the day, the groups came back together to sketch and draw characters based on their trip to the museum which could inspire the Aardman team to develop a new character for the app.

What did we learn?

Sketches for the Hidden Museum logoIt was great collaborating with young people at this stage because it allowed us to test the different functions for the app, revealing glitches and other practical issues. The children also revealed their motivation for choosing characters. They chose animals that were “cute” “weird” “scary” and “beautiful”.

They also revealed what interested them most about the museum and what kinds of exhibitions they’d like to see. It was a wide interest base that covered dinosaurs, Romans, Victorians, Crystals, the human body, sports, stuffed animals and art exhibitions. Many of the children had visited the museum before with their relatives, but this was the first time they had thought of the museum as a place to play with mobile phones and tablets. We’d like to thank St. Michael’s Primary School and their brilliant year five students. The kids have taken over!


Hidden Museum is part of a research project supported by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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