Maidstone Museum, operated by Maidstone Borough Council, is in the running for a top accolade at the Museum and Heritage Awards 2019.
Shortlisted for the Educational Initiative of the Year category, the Learning Team at the Museum has been nominated for their Green Spaces, Natural Faces project, which saw 450 local children explore expressions of ‘self.’
A health and wellbeing scheme that incorporated 15 schools across the borough of Maidstone, the campaign offered children who may not otherwise have access to cultural institutions the chance to take part. During inclusive activities designed to encourage self-reflection, students had the chance to explore their emotions while enjoying nearby outdoor areas.
Director of Maidstone Museum, Victoria Barlow said: “One of our constant aims is to take the museum ‘out’; we succeeded in doing this by creating a project programme which took place both inside our galleries and in the parks and green spaces outside, linking health and wellbeing to nature.
“Each class spent sessions discussing how our objects made them feel and pulled ‘feeling faces’. Being given the power to express themselves emphasised to the children that it’s normal to feel emotions such as pleased, sad, angry, bored, excited, frustrated or happy. All the creative artworks created on these days were environmentally biodegradable, and, once photographed, were left to disappear naturally, sinking back into their surroundings.”
The project encouraged schools to work in partnership across the borough, in partnership with Maidstone Museum and in partnership with an arts provider. Schools who participated all had costs covered to sign up to Artsmark and a teacher trained to deliver Arts Awards.
The Museum and Heritage Awards ceremony takes place in London on 15 May 2019, and will be attended by the Museum staff, who hope to be recognised for this creative community work.
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