by Carly Smith-Huggins, Education Officer
Over the past six months we’ve been trying something new at the Museum, working with an enthusiastic group of young people who have come to call themselves The Dodo Crew. Otherwise known as the Museum Youth Forum, the group meets up with us once a month to discuss ideas, plan events, see the collections, and generally have a dialogue about the Museum and its activity.
The Crew is made up of eleven 14-19 year olds who are already passionate about natural history and we’re really pleased to have them on board. Many museums across the UK run youth forums to engage the young people within their community, who are often underrepresented in museum audiences.
In fact, I was on a Museum Youth Forum at Norwich Castle Museum and found the experience very valuable as I had the opportunity to express my opinion, contribute and be part of a community, and make new friends. The group also enabled me to find my passion for working in museums, which I did not get from formal education or at home.
By joining the forum our Dodo Crew gets a chance to be involved in what we do as a museum, which I think is very important. And it will hopefully help us to be more successful in attracting people aged 14-19 years.
Going behind the scenes is great- seeing objects and talking to people.
It really felt like a unique opportunity and made me feel special.
So what exactly have we been doing? The Crew has been enjoying taking part in various activities, from live animal handling and taxidermy demos, to planning events and meeting scientists. They will also be helping with programmed events, designing their own events, contributing to temporary exhibitions, and much more.
And their very first event is this Saturday 16 April, all about skin and bones. Everyone is welcome between 2-4pm, so come and meet the Dodo Crew and see their great ideas in action (and if that doesn’t entice you, there will also be a live chameleon!).