Behind the scenes with IWM Youth Advisors

IWM Youth Advisors in the Atrium during construction, April 2013

Hi, I’m Amelia. I’m currently undertaking a student volunteer placement at IWM London and was lucky enough to join the IWM Youth Advisors Ruben, Elana, Zipporah, Kevin and Josiah for their April meeting. This was a packed day focusing on the changes that the museum is currently undergoing.

We started with an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour led by Geoff Burningham, Senior Construction Manager. It was a brilliant chance to see first-hand the redevelopment of the museum. It was amazing to see how much the museum has already changed and to use our imaginations to picture what it will look like in the future.

IWM Youth Advisors looking at an artwork from in the collections storage area

A new art exhibition, Architecture of War, is being curated in time for the partial re-opening of the museum in July . The Youth Panel had the chance to work with Art Curator Claire Brenard to select highlights from the exhibition to incorporate into the Youth Panel Highlights leaflet. We had the chance to see images of all the artworks which will be in the exhibition and selected two for our leaflet. Once we had chosen the final two we were all able to go to see them for ourselves in the stores where the art collection is kept. Youth Panel member Elana found this activity particularly enjoyable as she reflected:

Working with Claire was really interesting as I didn’t know much about art but she explained the backgrounds of the paintings which made it much harder to choose between them.

The rest of the day centred mainly on the new First World War Galleries, as we were given special access to the prototype model by Exhibition Manager Becky Wakeford. This was a really exciting opportunity and we made the most of it by raising important questions about how the public will interact with the design, which we were all very impressed with.

IWM Youth Advisors at First World War Galleries Workshop, April 2013

Following on from this, the panel took part in another exhibition workshop with James Taylor, Lead Curator for the First World War Galleries. We discussed the text that was being written for panels in the exhibition to tell the stories of the war and describe artefacts that would be on display. Youth Panel member Ruben found this especially valuable:

 I really enjoyed having the chance to look at the text for the First World War Galleries again as we saw the real progression from the last time we did a workshop with James.

I really enjoyed my day with the Youth Panel as it was fascinating to hear their opinions of the redevelopment and see how important these are for the museum. From the sounds of their discussion at the end of the day they have plenty of equally exciting plans for the future.

How did I become involved as a volunteer? I have always loved IWM and found out about the student volunteer placements when I was looking on the website for ways that I could become involved and gain experience, as I am hoping to pursue a career as a Learning Officer within museums.

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