Meet Daisy. She’s a very special visitor. We enjoy welcoming each and every one of the people who come through the doors; from just round the corner or right across the globe. But Daisy stands out because she’s the millionth person to step inside since we re-opened in February 2014. Yes, 1,000,000 visitors in just 18 months! Ready and waiting with certificate and goodie bag, we ambushed the 13 year old and her family as they arrived this afternoon.
Daisy and her brother George have travelled a long way for their first visit to the Museum. They live on the outskirts of San Francisco, California, and are spending summer with their grandparents in Cassington, just outside Oxford. Daisy says she loves exploring the variety of museums in her home town, so was excited to start looking around what she called the “impressive” museum. George (visitor 1,000,001) likes “museums with exciting things”, so we hope he finds enough to excite him here!
Since February 2014, many of our 1 million visitors have joined in with our plentiful programme of public engagement projects. We aim to entice the widest possible range of ages and interests.
Hundreds of family friendly events have educated and entertained the little ones, with new programmes for the under 5s and the ever-popular half term extravaganzas.
But the last 18 months has seen much more on offer for our adult audiences. Who says grown-ups don’t like getting messy and making something to take home? The popularity of the taxidermy workshops in June 2014 proved that they love nothing more.
School children have poured in for secondary and primary sessions alike. With evolution now featuring on the primary curriculum, we’ve been working with teachers to support them in this new area and developing a brand new primary workshop called ‘Evolve, Adapt, Survive’.
We know that curiosity doesn’t end when the school bell rings. Natural History Investigators, a new science club for 14-16 year olds, has given young people special access to museum collections and staff expertise on Saturday mornings. Achieving a national Crest Award in recognition of their achievements was the icing on the cake.
Fashion shows, contemporary science lectures and late night pub quizzes were some of the eclectic public events on offer.
So Daisy is number 1 million and we were delighted to meet her today, but she represents all of our visitors. It’s the quality that really matters to us, not just the quantity!
Rachel Parle, Interpretation and Education Officer