Cultural Fiesta Initiatives for Museums

Let’s get to work in the museums! Interactivity is key.

Update 9th of September 2021

Museums have an undeniable educational value. Above all, they bring unaccesible information closer to the public. Nevertheless, some of them rely too much in passive-learning. Normal audiences go there, see and many times do not know what to do with the info they have gathered. As a result, people might forget the learning outcome. Organizing practical activities, such as workshops, might be a solution! Let’s talk about some of them:

Confucius' quote edit by Cultural Fiesta
Confucius’ quote edit by Cultural Fiesta

Behind the scenes workshops.

The work behind a museum is not only displaying exhibitions. Indeed, there are a lot of people involved whose job is normally unknown for the public. This can be a really exciting startingpoint for many workshops. That is to say, this idea applies not only to musuems but to every cultural institution.

This workshops would serve two main purposes. Firstly, they would attract people. It is always interesting to learn about other people’s realities, such as their jobs. Secondly, it would recognize proffessionals, which might serve as a motivational boost for museum workers.

Some examples we have come up with of this “behind the scenes” workshops are the next ones:

Curatorship workshop

Curators are the people in charge of a collection in museums. They have the last word in deciding how it would be displayed. Explaining how do they actually do it and what criteria do they follow would be quite catchy.

In order to do, a cool activity would follow the next steps:

  • The facilitator asks the participants to organize a quick exhibit with daily objects provided by the museum. It would be nice if the objects were small samples.
  • Participants quickly explain the criteria they have followed to organize the exhibit.
  • The curator explains how he or she does it normally.
  • Participants, after listening the expert, make the changes they consider to their previous display.

Click in the image to learn more about another curatorship workshop example!

Example of curatorship workshop in Bucharest, Romania!
Example of curatorship workshop in Bucharest, Romania!

Dating workshop.

Another interesting aspect of museums is that they hold really old samples. This objects are many times older than people that found and work with them. It is a really attractive concept in which to base a workshop.

The objetive of this workshop should be to make popular audiences aware of how researchers work. The museum could organize simple experiments in which people would learn how to use different dating tools and techniques.

Artistic workshops

Art is something catchy, even people that do not consider themselves experts enjoy it due to its relaxing aspect. Artistic workshops have also the advantage that they can be facilitated by non-artist. If that is the case, the focus shouldn’t be the final product of the workshop. Facilitators should put their effort into making people enjoy the creative process.

In this type of workshops, the objetive should not be for the participants to end up doing a very impressive piece, but to create a bond with the organizing insititution and develop their creativity. Some examples, step by step, are the following:

Story-telling workshop

  • Participants choose a sample after quickly visiting the museum.
  • The facilitator explains more in depth evert chosen sample.
  • Participants have 15 minutes to develop a story inspired by the information about the sample.
  • In assembly, every participant shares his / her / their story.

Painting workshop, charades

This workshop can be understood as a game. Participants would participate in pairs or groups.

  • One participant of the pair is given a card and 5 minutes (however the time depends on the size of the museum) to find the sample and remember as much as possible from it.
  • They come back to their group and have another 5 minutes to represent by painting their sample.
  • Finally, his / her / their group has to quickly find the sample only by looking at the painting.

The positive aspect of this two workshops is that the artistic outcome can vary. Participants can be asked to develop a story or painting, but it would be as fun to ask them to make dance or write a simple song. The possibilities are endless!

Diane Ackerman's quote edit by Cultural Fiesta
Diane Ackerman’s quote edit by Cultural Fiesta

By Elvi

European Union funds Cultural Fiesta, a Team for Youth’s project. It is part of the European Solidarity Corps.