As part of the national initiative Takeover Day in Museums, children from Dorchester Middle School were invited onto the site of the NEW Dorset Museum.
Unfortunately, torrential rain interrupted proceedings but with quick thinking and ingenuity on behalf of the teachers, museum staff, volunteers and members of Acheson’s construction staff, the day was saved by relocating the entire event to the school.
With the school gym transformed into a temporary auditorium, 300 pupils listened transfixed as the story of how the new museum is taking shape was presented by Acheson’sproject Manager Dan Coniam and Ian Chorlton Construction Manager. Having already done their research as part of the ‘Takeover Day’ initiative, pupils were ready and eager to ask their questions. From how many exhibits will the NEW museum hold to how tall is the crane, the questions came thick and fast – “it was nice to be involved in something different from our normal day and brilliant to engage with the children” says Dan. In between questions, four lucky pupils were invited to demonstrate the wearing of health & safety equipment whilst Dan tested the pupil’s knowledge of trip hazards and how best to avoid accidents.
Following the presentation, the students took on the roles of tour guides, curators and exhibition designers to create their very own collection of artefacts and curiosities based on the themes of Natural Dorset, People’s Dorset and Artists Dorset. At the end of the day, the pupils hosted their exhibition in Dorset Museum’s giant touring Inflatable Museum – a unique experience for families, friends and pupils alike.
“Acheson Construction were delighted to be given the opportunity to present to the pupils of Dorchester Middle School today. We are very proud to be delivering this important and iconic local project for the Dorset Museum and helping them to realise their vision of turning the museum into a leading contemporary cultural centre” says Marcus Drysdale, Managing Director.
Whilst disappointed not to be able to visit the site, the pupils were excited to hear that the museum build programme will be opening to the public in the Summer of 2020. “Based on the enthusiasm that we have seen here today I have no doubt that when our doors are opened for the first time next year there will be a queue of people waiting to get in and at the very front will be pupils from Dorchester Middle School,” says Emma Talbot, Head of Education and Learning at Dorset Museum.
Takeover Day (Friday 22nd November 2019) is a national initiative for museums, galleries, historic homes, archives and heritage sites across England and invites children and young people to visit behind the scenes of these wonderful institutions. Supported by Arts Council England funding, the charity, Kids in Museums launched Takeover Day in 2010 to help historic institutions give children meaningful roles in their organisations and encourage a lifelong love of learning and curiosity.