Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Trip to Manchester Museum

On Monday we took our oldest nephew to Manchester Museum and, just as he has never experienced a museum before, I have never experienced a museum in the company of a five year old. I found that I had to change the way I would normally approach a day out like this. This day wasn't about me increasing my knowledge, taking in every item, reading every description, or even obtaining a collection of well-composed photographs. Rather it was about finding a way to keep Josh engaged, showing him new things and attempting to explain them in an exciting way.

We found 'Which is your favourite?' to be an effective question for getting Josh to actually look in each cabinet (the temptation to bounce off to explore the next room was difficult for him to resist). Although, as with any question posed to a child, his response occasionally surprised. For instance, whilst looking at a cabinet of carved wooden statues Josh declared: I like that one the best. The one with the really big boobies.

When there were things he could touch he seemed even more engaged. He had the opportunity to stroke a stuffed fox, running his fingers over body, tail, feet, nose and ears to discover how the fur felt different on each part.  

There was something joyful about him jumping to the next display and hearing the word 'awesome' spill from his mouth, and there was a sense of feeling special when he'd skipped ahead to only return, take my hand and say, I need to show you this really cool thing.

Over lunch he examined the museum map, mentally checked off where we had been and planned where we would go next... 
After lunch, with map unfolded, clutched in both hands, he became our guide and we followed without objection.

In the vivarium, Shaun lifted him up to see the leaf frogs which were suckered onto the leaves in disguise. A little later, we overhead him repeating what Shaun had told him about them to another adult, pointing them out and telling her what they were.

He pressed buttons on a giant earth and saw red coloured dots erupt to represent volcanoes and green flashing ones to show the earthquakes. He circle around the sphere's circumference, trying to take in every light before they darkened.

In tiredness he still found the strength to be amazed by Stan the T-Rex, desperate to take a photograph so he didn't forget his overall favourite thing.

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Monday was a day of discovery for us all.

Thank you for reading,



Colin Davies said...

I ticked funny because it made me smile.

I remember how amazing museums were to me at that age. And I have seen that same joy in discovery in the face of our Stephen.

Have young children around you in a place like that does give you a whole new and yet somehow familiar experience.

I loved reading this thank you.

vicky ellis said...

Oh that sounds like a fun day out. Try the World Museum in Liverpool. Drawers full of stuffed animals :-)

Christo said...

Sounds just the sort of day out I used to enjoy so much as a child (and now organise for myself) with my parents and then school.
The FREE ENTRY policy is so vital to start giving the next generations a sense of their place in history and the World from their earliest days.