From Cornwall to Manchester, Kids in Museums Takeover Day 2011 is an "amazing experience"

By Culture24 Reporter Published: 11 November 2011

A photo of two children at a museum information desk
The Museum of London welcome desk was manned by a new dynamic duo as part of Takeover Day© Museum of London
Takeover Day 2011, the fifth annual edition of the scheme allowing young minds to grab the reins at cultural organisations across the land, has proved a rampaging success at Britain’s museums and galleries.

At Manchester Art Gallery, an inquisition to find out precisely what the exquisite collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings held behind the doors means to Mancunians today was enthusiastically pursued by a gaggle of excited visitors.

Music and dancing were swiftly followed by a few lasting embellishments to the walls. "Young people have been producing signs, tweeting and visiting the art store to see the work of conservators," they reported.

Another of the city's best attractions, the Whitworth Art Gallery, faced the faintly scary sight of children in shadow suits as Medlock Primary School infiltrated the building. The People’s History Museum also declared an invasion.

The crystal balls were out at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, where one of the groups wasted no time in planning craft workshops in the heart of the Black Country in Easter 2012.

At the mind-expanding Horniman Museum in London, explorers were introduced to the African Worlds gallery, finding greeting cups from the Democratic Republic of Congo and ancient Latin etchings lying in wait.

Down in Cornwall, Penlee House invited pupils from Penpol School to choose the next exhibition in Gallery 5. With just a fortnight until its expected hang they had to move quickly, devising and writing labels to adorn the walls of the display.

Yorkshire gem the Leeds Museum announced a day of fun and activities for children – all free of charge – and the Museum of London and the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire were both teeming with teachers supervising joyful collective classroom mutinies.

Children's Commissioner Maggie Atkinson, who helped co-ordinate the campaign with Kids in Museums, was at the Firepower Museum in London.

"The day was a great success," she said, thanking the participants. "It was an amazing experience for all involved."

Up to 50,000 children are thought to have taken part, and plans are already underway in earnest for the sixth instalment in 2012.

  • Visit Takeover Day online and follow the campaign on Twitter by using the hashtag #TakeoverDay2011.

    More pictures from Takeover Day:

    A photo of children standing at an information desk inside a museum
    The Museum of London information desk was tickled pink
    © Museum of London
    A photo of a line of children standing inside a museum
    An army of mini helpers gave staff an easy day
    © Museum of London
    A photo of two children welcoming a visitor inside a museum
    Even for a Friday, the entrance to the museum was awash with enthusiasm and energy
    © Museum of London
    A photo of a group of children standing on a balcony inside an industrial museum
    Pupils pounced upon the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire
    A photo of a group of children making a presentation inside a museum boardroom
    Children made key decisions, including the planning of future exhibitions and workshops