Students of Harbinger school took over the Museum of London Docklands today. They showed visitors around, ran the information desk and even dressed up as pirates to stage performances.
The event was part of the Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day 2012 which saw young students take an active role in the running of museums, charities and government offices around the country.
As the doors were about to open to visitors in at the museum in West India Quay, Eastlondonlines spoke to tour guides Arif, 9, Giovanni, 11, and Alemin, 10.
Arif said: “We’re going to do performances and some of us are nervous.”
Giovanni agreed, explaining that the preparation process had been challenging at times.
He said: “Sometimes when we were practising and trying to take in information all at once, it was difficult.”
Students from the Cahir Street based school were excited about the day ahead though, with Alemin adding he “definitely” wanted to go to more museums in the future.
Encouraging interest in museums and local history is a topic that Nina Sprigge, programme manager for primary schools at the Museum of London, spoke about earlier in the day.
She said: “The children come from a local school and all of the history they’re telling visitors about is theirs. We’d love to continue our involvement in Takeover Day year after year. It really builds a sense of museum ownership for the children.”
Preparations for the event began two months ago and saw museum staff working closely with the students and their teachers. Mandy Boutwood, headteacher at Harbinger Primary School, was very pleased with the amount of work her pupils put in.
Boutwood said: “We are very proud of our students. I am so pleased they have had the opportunity to participate in such an exciting project.”
Takeover Day has been running for three years. Today’s Docklands museum event saw a total of 45 children, aged nine to 11 taking part, with parents and fellow schoolmates coming along to show support and learn about local history.