Our first Fundraising Focus blog looked at the conservation of a very precious object in the Wallace Collection. This month, we turn our attention from objects to people, as we take a look at the work of the Education Department in making sure that the treasures of the Wallace Collection are accessible to as wide an audience as possible. You can support this valuable work by making a donation via our Big Give page, and we are grateful for every gift, of every size.
As readers with children will know, museums and galleries are not always the most exciting places for children to explore, and we work very hard to make sure that a visit to the Wallace Collection is as intriguing, exciting, and memorable as possible. One area that your donations help to support is the free education sessions that we offer to schools. Our education team bring the objects and the story of the Wallace Collection to life, and bring children closer to the treasures on display through discussions, looking, drawing and object handling (objects for handling are very carefully selected!). Trying on pieces of armour is always a very popular activity!
We have a long-standing partnership with St Vincent’s Primary School, Marylebone, which began in 2009 with our pioneering exhibition ‘Shhh! It’s a Secret!’ The exhibition was entirely curated by pupils aged 9-11 from St Vincent’s, who chose which objects to display and what theme the exhibition would take, and, assisted by staff from several Wallace Collection departments, took responsibility for every aspect of the display. The exhibition ultimately welcomed over 14,000 visitors and received lots of positive comments from children, parents, and further afield. As Billy said:
“I learnt about art, the history behind the objects, how to research, and that there is always a story behind any object. I have learnt how to speak confidently to the public and people. I have also experienced how hard the job is for becoming a curator. Although it was hard curating an exhibition by children I think our hard work has paid off!!!”
Following this success, young curators from the school now lead public tours of the Wallace Collection during term time (3 per year), especially for families, which gives visitors a fresh new perspective and is a brilliant experience for the guides themselves.
We also stage a free drop-in workshop each month as part of The Campaign for Drawing’s aim to, quite simply, get everyone drawing. The workshop encourages people of all ages (and abilities!) to look closely at objects in the Wallace Collection, and draw inspiration from them to create their own artworks. Our next session is on Sunday 2 June from 1.30 – 4.30 pm, and you can find out more about the Campaign’s excellent work here.
This is just a taster of what the Education Department gets up to and how your donations are helping young people to engage with the Wallace Collection and keep them coming back for more. To make a donation and support this vital work, please click here to visit our Big Give page. Thank you very much.