Go back to article: ‘The whole exhibition becomes the stage…’ – a journey through time by children for children as a new approach to peer learning

The funding project 'Kultur macht stark. Bündnisse für Bildung'

In summer 2015 we linked up with a programme called Culture makes us strong. Alliances for Education set up by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.[5] The funding programme was launched in 2013 to promote extracurricular projects with cultural content for disadvantaged children and young people to provide an opportunity for these children to develop new perspectives, strengthen their personality and create a foundation for lifelong learning. The Ministry of Education and Research collaborated with funding agencies from several cultural sectors, the German Museum Association being responsible for the majority of museum projects.

This programme exactly met our objectives and the project we hoped to establish could qualify for support. With this end in view, we developed a detailed concept for an experimental pilot project called Von Funkenkutsche, Dampfradio und Flimmerkiste – a title which does not have an adequate English translation, but which, translated literally, would read ‘About spark carriage, steam radio and flicker box’.[6]

Briefly summarised the project concept had the main objective of giving children from educationally disadvantaged families living in our district the chance to take a hands-on approach to museums. It emphasised the importance of demonstrating that museums can be exciting and fun and thereby make children less apprehensive about visiting exhibitions.

The children taking part would be at primary school and aged between 8 and 12 years. To arouse the interest of the target group and convince children to join the project, staff would visit eligible schools and present the project.

The participants – we planned for at least seven, and hoped for around twelve – would visit the Museum for three hours each Friday over a period of three or four months. The project would be led by two external museum educators.

In the first part of the project the children were expected to become familiar with the exhibitions as well as the back offices and departments of the Museum. In the second phase a script would be developed in order to create a play on the history of electrification. With the assistance of an experienced drama teacher the children would rehearse their assigned roles. And finally, by performing the theatre play as the completion of the project the children would share their new knowledge with their peer-group.

The Museum submitted an application for funding together with a timetable, a cooperation agreement[7] and a calculation of expenditure to the German Museum Association in October 2015.

Our request was approved in December on condition that the project was put into practice between 15 February and 31 July 2016.

Component DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/180911/002