By Claire Simmons, Engagement Officer – Young People
Focus on Youth Partnerships: Tomorrow’s People
Tomorrow’s People have been visiting our sites regularly as part of their ‘Engage’ programme – which supports 16-25 year old’s who are not in education, employment or training.
Groups have visited us roughly every 6 weeks, to explore behind the scenes in our museum stores, to access our exhibitions for free, as well as to do some additional activities connected to what we’ve got on.
Activities from the past 18 months have included:
- Audio recording their responses to pieces in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, for the audience to access via our audio pens.
- Interviewing primary school children about their responses to our exhibitions.
- Doing museum selfie challenges and scavenger hunts around the museum.
- Learning how to create Elizabethan Christmas decorations and preparing the Red Lodge for its festive celebrations.
The behind the scenes store tours have always been popular, with the wonders of the Natural History store being a big favourite (bad taxidermy and man eating tiger skulls are always a winner); as well as our World Cultures and Egyptology collections (mummified cats the ultimate engagement tool) and the wonders of the L Shed store – (who knew a whale vertebrate can sit so happily next to carriages and motorbikes).
The opportunity to wander, explore and discuss (often at random) also seems to be a welcome activity for the youth workers supporting NEETs. For young people who may lack confidence, the activity of looking at something other than a person seems to help their conversational skills, and having the experience of going to a museum and trying something new has given the young people something to talk about when they later go on to have a job or college interview.
Sadly, Tomorrow’s People announced last week that they are closing down. I’m sad to see them go, they will be very much missed and wish the staff and young people the very best for the future.
What our partnership has managed to do, however, is allow us to get better at delivering activities for young people who may not have had much initial interest or experience in visiting a museum, and to create an offer that supports an already existing youth programme. The youth workers have also really enjoyed bringing the young people; it is a welcome activity for everyone after a morning of form filling and job applications.
If you or someone you know works with young people classed as ‘NEET’ and would like to arrange to do similar activities for free – as a one-off, or as part of an ongoing programme – please get in touch.