Saturday, 24 March 2018

Brighton Toy And Model Museum is Well MET

Brighton Toy and Model Museum isn’t just a repository for old toys. The idea that museums are just a place for old stuff to collect dust should be consigned to the museum! Today museums all around the world are thinking of new ways in which to connect with the communities which they represent. Museums aren’t just a collection of other people’s antiques, they contain objects of our history; relics that are part of the culture to which we all belong.

I always loved museums, that’s why I work in one now. But there are other people who felt that going to a museum was almost a form of punishment when they were at school and consequently they wouldn’t willingly set foot inside one now. And that’s an attitude which is up to all of us as museum workers to try and change. A trip to the museum should be not only educational, but fun, entertaining and informative; a treat that everyone can look forward to. Museums used to be like libraries, you had to hush, look hard at exhibits which were often poorly displayed in badly lit cabinets, and NO TOUCHING!

Brighton Toy and Model Museum has always striven to dispel this image of reliquary. Toys are made to be fun, and while we can’t let everybody play with all the models we have, we do have interactive toys and machines, and during school visits children can play with some of the toys we keep as resources. We use that play to teach about several key stage subjects, such as the science and technology involved in construction, motion and propulsion. We don’t just exhibit old toys to conjure up memories. We also get involved in educational programmes such as Brighton Science Fest, where all kinds of learning is cleverly disguised as play! During SciFest kids thought they were playing making balloon powered race cars out of recyclable odds and ends and moving images from zoetropes. In fact they were learning about planning, strategy, construction, friction and drag, stored energy, optics and the persistence of vision.

It’s not just the young learners who we want to get more out of our museum. We want older children and young adults to think of the Toy Museum as something that they can get involved with too. This year we’re taking on work experience staff members so they can get a feel of the way a tourist attraction is run as a business, and exhibiting work by Brighton MET College art students. We are looking forward to providing space for artists from Brighton MET to exhibit their work as we feel this is a brilliant opportunity for artists to display their work in front of an audience made up not only of their peers, but of the general public who might not usually make it to exhibitions held on the college premises.

And we’re very excited about the Community Rail Partnership we’ve signed with Govia Thameslink as it will enable us to promote the exhibitions, such as those we’re working on with Brighton MET, to commuters, visitors, and all those who pass through Brighton Station. The Community Rail Partnership will mean that we can put up posters promoting the events which we are hosting, on the station concourse. We will also be able to provide two display cabinets in the booking office so people will have the chance to have a taste of our locally themed exhibits while they wait to buy their train tickets.

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