Football, pizza and pigs
As I had taken part in an IWM Summer School, the cake-filled welcome to my first IWM Youth Panel meeting felt like home. After getting to know each other in the best way possible – sharing embarrassing childhood tales – we climbed further into the heights of the building to the iconic dome itself for our introduction. The Dome Reading Room is exactly as you would envisage it, complete with a huge round table and walls lined with bookshelves. It’s truly the perfect setting for the Youth Panel meetings, with the room alone enough to assure me that this was something really very cool.
Next, we split into two groups for discussions with James Taylor and Ann Carter. James’ enormous experience in creating exhibitions and his leading role in designing the upcoming First World War galleries allowed him to give us a fascinating insight into the intricacies and precision behind the process, while Ann introduced us to the plan for the new atrium, describing the monumental task of planning a whole regeneration and guiding us through some of the construction work being done.
Then came lunch, with no one deprived of seconds – or thirds! – of pizza, followed by a research skills activity. In groups of three or four we researched an item from the museum’s online database, putting together a PowerPoint to present to the rest of the panel. We could use any information or images we could find, be it from the IWM website – iwm.org.uk – or any other reliable source. The challenge? We could use no more than fifty words. The presentations ranged from items such as my group’s Trench Football game to ship mascot Tirpitz the pig and despite a little bending of the word count limitation, they all proved fascinating and highly entertaining.
It was an absolute pleasure spending the day with a group of such enthusiastic and interesting people, both those also joining the panel and the dedicated experts we were lucky enough to speak with, and I can’t wait to learn even more from them in the future.