Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Under 5s Gallery
A gallery in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has been transformed into an animal-themed toddler-friendly space - the new Mini Museum.
The gallery has been designed to appeal to pre-school children, incorporating many of the paintings and exhibits that prove most popular with younger visitors to the museum, alongside comfortable soft seating areas and storytelling space.
The concept for the Mini Museum was devised by Andy Fowles, who worked closely with a number of local nurseries and pre-school settings to create a comfortable space for younger children to explore with their parents.
We want children to feel a sense of ownership of some of the fantastic works of art that we have here, so it was important to create a space which is engaging and interesting for children, and where parents feel comfortable letting their children play.
Indeed, in a survey last year on a national newspaper website, 31% of respondents suggested that children should be banned from museums – something that Andy believes is unacceptable. “A love of art is a lifelong interest, so by bringing together some of the museum’s highlights - paintings of animals that children recognise, alongside some of the friendly, furry creatures from our natural history galleries - we provide an accessible way for little visitors to engage with our collection. Young children love pointing to the animals they recognise in the pictures and taxidermy models, and shouting out their names!” adds Andy.
The Mini Museum incorporates a mini puppet theatre where children can create their own shows, and other interactive activities linked to exhibits elsewhere in the museum – including a three dimensional jigsaw of an Egyptian mummy’s sarcophagus and a computer game which includes a virtual tour of some of the other galleries.
With arts activities and workshops regularly taking place within the Museum, the Mini Museum will provide gallery space to display children’s work alongside some of the grand paintings.
Young Australian artist Aelita Andre had her first solo exhibition at the age of two and her first sell-out exhibition at five years old – maybe our gallery space will provide inspiration for a home-grown talent to be the world’s next professional pre-school artist,
Located next to the Edwardian Tearooms, seating and tables are also close by for parents who want to enjoy a relaxing drink after their children’s fun adventures in the Mini Museum, making it an ideal venue for playdates and for parents to meet up when they are in town.
Admission to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is free, so we hope that parents will come time and time again to the city’s most child-friendly café,
The Mini Museum is open with the main Birmingham Art Gallery & Museum, from 10.00am to 5.00pm Saturday – Thursday, and 10.30am to 5.00pm on Fridays. For more information, please visit www.birminghammuseums.org.uk
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