Working with Young Children in Museums makes a major contribution to the small body of extant research on young children in museums, galleries and heritage sites.
Bridging theory and practice, the book introduces theoretical concepts in a clear and concise manner, whilst also providing inspirational insights into everyday programming in museums. Structured around three key themes, this volume seeks to diverge from the dominant socio-cultural learning models that are generally employed in the museum learning literature. It introduces a body of theories that have variously been called new materialist, spatial, posthuman and Deleuzian; theories which enable a focus on the body, movement and place and which have not yet been widely shared or developed with the museum sector or explicitly connected to practice. This book outlines these theories in an accessible way, explaining their usefulness for conceptualising young children in museums and connecting them to practical examples of programming in a range of locations via a series of contributed case studies.
Connecting theory to practice for readers in a way that emphasises possibility, Working with Young Children in Museums should be essential reading for museum practitioners working in a range of institutions around the world. It should be of equal interest to researchers and students engaged in the study of museum learning, early childhood education and children’s experiences in museums.
Table of Contents
Foreword (Barbara Piscitelli)
List of figures and tables
Abigail Hackett, Rachel Holmes and Christina MacRae
Part I: Thing-ness and the power of objects
2. Introduction to Part I
Rachel Holmes, Christina MacRae and Abigail Hackett
3 The power of objects: little things please little minds?
4 The thing-ness of wood chips
5. Bright and Shiny: infants, toddlers and contemporary art at the Ipswich Art Gallery
6. What emerges in playing in The Corner of artist-curated and created matter
Louise Gwenneth Phillips and Roxanne Finn
7. For the love of small stuff: materialising theory in an early years artist residency
Lucy Hill and Aisling O’Gorman
8. Commentary on Part I: On fire
Part II: Museum spaces
9. Introduction to Part II
Abigail Hackett, Christina MacRae and Rachel Holmes
10. Leaving room for learning: University of Cambridge Museums' nursery in residence
Kate Noble and Nicola Wallis
11. The sound of Little Feet at the British Museum
Katharine Hoare and Kate Kelland
12. Young children explore Sewerby Hall
13. Climate, landscape and landmarks: providing spaces for belonging
Elizabeth Clayton and Jack Shuttleworth
14. Navigating, negotiating and lighting up in a nature gallery for under 5s
15. Commentary on Part II: Places along lines of flight
Ricardo Nemirovsky and Molly L. Kelton
Part III: Museum spaces
16. Introduction to Part III
Christina MacRae, Abigail Hackett, Rachel Holmes
17. Transport Tots at Streetlife Museum, Hull: a familiar and unfamiliar space
18. Working off-site with families with young children at the National Gallery of Ireland
19. Come again! How familiarity leads to repeat visits and confident learners
20. Healthy Child drop-in and Baby Stay and Play at Manchester Art Gallery
21. Complicating the narrative: preschooler-led museum field trips
22. Reflecting on children’s play at the Whitworth
Louisa Penfold and Lucy Turner
23. On What Grounds
24. Commentary on Part III: the lived materialities of the museum – a new research agenda
Kate Pahl and Jennifer Roswell
Abigail Hackett is a Research Fellow at the Education and Social Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focusses on the role of place, materiality and the body in young children’s lives in numerous contexts including museums. Her original doctoral research looked at the meaning making of young children in museums and she currently holds a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship entitled "The emergence of literacy in very young children: place and materiality in a more-than-human world."
Rachel Holmes leads the Children and Childhood Research Group in the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research activities appreciate the complexity of the contemporary worlds that young children, families and communities occupy. The work she engages with includes the development of theoretically-driven intellectual, as well as diverse empirical, research and evaluation projects.
Christina MacRae is a Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University whose research interests lie in the Early Years, and, in particular, in the way that sense, affect and movement express a bodily relationship with the world. Her research has focussed on young children’s learning in classroom contexts as well as in museums and galleries. She has been an Early Years teacher in inner-city nursery schools, most recently in Bradford. Alongside her teaching, she has an interest in art-making and she has also worked as an artist in collaborative projects with young children in schools.