The Mini Museum at Birmingham Museum and Art 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.
A mini puppet theatre, where children can create their own shows, and other interactive activities linked to exhibits elsewhere in the museum have been included in the gallery as well as a 3D jigsaw of an Egyptian mummy’s sarcophagus and a computer game which includes a virtual tour of some of the other galleries
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,” he said. “So it was important to create a space which is engaging and interesting for children, and where parents feel comfortable letting their children play.”
In a survey last year on a national newspaper website, 31 per cent of respondents suggested that children should be banned from museums – something that Fowles 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.”
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. The mini museum is also located next to the Edwardian Tearooms, with seating and tables, making it convenient for parents.