MGM 2008 - Warwickshire Museum Visitors Build Time Machine

By Tom Powell | 21 May 2008
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Photo of the inside of a home made time machine - it's really a small construction made from plastic, cardboard and bubble wrap

Inside a museum-built Time Machine - plenty of room! © Ros Ingram

Tom Powell gets the low down on home-made time travelling machines at the late night opening at Warwickshire Museum

Historic Warwick got a glimpse of the future as locals travelled forward in time for a Night of Inventions on the evening of May 16 as part of Museums and Galleries Month 2008.

Amongst Warwickshire Museum’s better-known selection of ancient artefacts and historic exhibitions now lies an insight into the future - as the museum of the future became a present-day reality for the citizens of Warwick.

Local children were invited along to take part in an array of competitions, quizzes and activities at the museum, in order to discover the past and invent the future.

Photo of some children wrapped in cardboard ready to travel in time

Some of the smaller time travellers get ready for their epic journey © Ros Ingram

The evening’s main event was the creation of a 3D time machine that provided visitors with access to the museum of the future. Artist Ros Ingram was brought in to help invent the time machine with the help of local visiting children and had this to say about the event: “We’re putting together a time machine that the children get in, with features that allow them to interact with the past.”

The time machine was soon put to good use as the children began travelling forward in time (apparently!) in order to help and improve the past with a time travel competition. Pipe cleaners, glitter, cardboard and glue were put to use - the aim being to design and make a museum of the future.

Photo of a child holding a toy telescope

A time traveller using a hi-tech vision amplification device © Ros Ingram

Fossil-inventing machines, new creatures and futuristic houses were created in a bid to bring a forward-looking feel to proceedings as the time machine made its way through the museum’s natural history, geology and archaeology galleries. With prizes available for the best inventions, imaginations ran wild.

The inventing theme carried on throughout the evening with Nick Park’s animated duo ‘Wallace and Gromit’ showing off their inventing skills in a showing of the Oscar Award-winning film ‘The Wrong Trousers’. The film was accompanied by a ‘Wallace and Gromit’ themed quiz to test viewer’s knowledge of the pairs’ eccentric and often useless inventions.

Photo of a room with people in it making things on a craft table

The museum was open late for the invention evening © Ros Ingram

If you missed out on Warwickshire Museums’ Night of Inventions there is still a chance to get involved. “The time machine stays up for a few days so there is still a chance for children to come and see it, add to it, learn and play,” said artist Ros Ingram.

Jenny St John and Natalie Bloxham conceived the event, and also co-ordinated proceedings on the day.

MGM 2008 events continue across the region, with an event packed with Roman activities at Lunt Roman Fort on May 28 and 29, whilst Royal Birmingham Society of Artists have organised a bus to take people to visit Birmingham’s galleries on May 28. Board the bus at 5pm from the RBSA, Ikon or the Barber and travel between the galleries enjoying each venue's exhibitions.

Shows the Renaissance in the Regions logo.

Tom Powell is our Renaissance West Midlands arts writer, reporting on MGM 2008 events all over the region for the whole month of May. Renaissance is the groundbreaking initiative to transform England's regional museums, led by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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