IWM and Museum Takeover Day, 22 November 2013

As I made my way to IWM London I encountered the repercussions of the storms that had swept Britain – with my train being delayed I hastily walked to the museum. Luckily I was not the only one to be delayed. We were led up to a vast room where I discovered the other Youth Panel Members sitting in a semi-circle. It gave us a sense of grandeur and purpose;  I felt we were now a collective especially after two or so meetings.

We quickly were introduced to our day, it seemed full and it was all about informing us on making a decision on what to do for Takeover Day. I was excited and eager to get started.  We were split in two and my group started the day by working with the First World War Galleries team on how to write captions – specifically on how to summarise a large quantity of information into less than a hundred words. Our caption was aimed for eight-year-olds and focused on Tirpitz the pig, a curious tale of an escaped boar discovered by HMS Glasgow in 1915. My group decided to condense the key events but keep some interesting descriptive text to keep the attention of an eight-year-old.

After this we were introduced to the museum’s social media team, who informed us of the different platforms IWM uses to keep the audience involved. Three different platforms were introduced to us – these were Vine, Twitter and Facebook. For Museum Takeover Day [on 22 November museums all over the UK let children take over in a series of exciting events], a group of us will take over IWM’s social media and we thought of innovative ideas on how to keep them fun and exciting. These ranged from allowing people to help us make decisions by ‘favouriting’ on Twitter or by running competitions on Facebook. After lunch we then were given new groups and my group started by meeting a researcher from the Science Museum who taught us about the knack of public feedback and how we can gain clear response and opinion from the public.

After this we did one of the most exciting things of the day, we met with the museum Director General Diane Lees. She shared with us how she got her job and the experience she has gained throughout her career. For many of us this was insightful and fascinating, especially as many of us would like to work in museums. To end the day we set out our aims as a panel and we decided we would like to grow as an organisation and to become more independent while respecting everyone’s different goals. We ended the day by choosing our preferences for Museum Takeover Day. This was a hard decision because everything was so interesting and good. At the end of the day my brain was full but I was keen like everyone else to get started with the takeover!

By Youth Adviser Sam

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