by Claire Simmons, Engagement Officer – Young People
Our second Youth Panel cohort – Ottilie, Chloe, Thea, Elliott, Sally, Ella, Beth and Tash finished this summer. Here are a few of their highlights from the past year…
Why did you join the youth panel?
Sophia: The youth panel is a collection of young people from around Bristol who have volunteered their time to come together and assess the productivity of the museum for people our age. I wanted to join because I was interested in why it was was very divided regarding whether people went to museums or not and how we can bridge the gap and get more young people involved in going to museums.
Tell us about visiting the stores…
Ottilie: Going into the basement was like entering another world. Lisa was super friendly and passionate about everything in the World Cultures collection which she looks after. It was a little cramped, but brimming with both historical and contemporary pieces which represent all the different regions of the world and how they’ve changed.
For me, the most interesting was the Blackfoot (a Native American Tribe of the Great Plains) shirt made in the 1800s. Lisa explained the symbolism of the different features, like the locks of hair and how the conditions in the store are adapted to preserve it.
What was your favourite thing in the Bristol Museum galleries?
Tash: We got to wander around the exhibition spaces in M Shed and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. I really liked the Empire Through the Lens exhibition, there were some great photographs but what I really liked was the contemporary responses included in the exhibition – it gave an interesting lateral perspective and was a great way of showing the relevance and pervading influence of empire today.
Who did you get to meet?
Ella: We’ve met loads of different people! We met Becky who gave us a presentation on the Bristol Music exhibition. As a Panel, we also had a tour from Lee, who gave us an intriguing tour around the L Shed, a treasure trove of both industrial and social items from the city’s past.
What was a highlight for you?
Thea: For me, a highlight was truly the L Shed tour that Lee gave, but it was also meeting the rest of the staff. I really enjoyed meeting the other panel members and traversing the museums together! It was interesting hearing from them on what they were interested in changing about the museums – everyone had such diverse opinions and experiences, so it really became a life experience for us all.
Elliot: My highlight of the Youth Panel has to be the L Shed tour conducted by Lee. We got a real insight into what happens behind the scenes of the museum. It was particularly interesting to see how many objects the museum has in its stores that you usually cannot see, simply down to space and capability within the museums.
It was amazing! Thank you for the opportunity – I didn’t realise how great it would be and how much we’d get to see.