Kids in Museums – a small, independent charity working with museums to bring life-changing opportunities and experiences to children and families - is getting bigger.

Following the enormous success of Takeover Day in museums – the annual day on which museums are taken over by children – Kids in Museums is piloting Takeover Day across the arts.

From mini-curators to working in the café, Takeover Day 2013 saw children take on roles and responsibilities in museums usually reserved for adults. Over 6000 young people UK-wide were given meaningful, powerful and decision-making jobs. Takeover Day 2014 on 21 November will see even more young people take part and take over, including at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity responsible for the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace the Banqueting House, and Hillsborough Castle.

The announcement was made at the launch of Historic Royal Palaces’ first ever large-scale family festival, ‘Tudors at the Tower’, which takes place at the Tower of London from 24 – 26 May. As part of the charity’s new approach to Learning and Engagement at the palaces, a ‘pop-up palace’ has been installed in the ancient moat providing a dedicated and unique experience for families over the Bank Holiday weekend. Visitors of all ages will be able to enjoy fun activities, costumed live interpretation, a hands-on history zone and exclusive animations produced in collaboration with Aardman. ‘Tudors at the Tower’ is the first family festival taking place this year at Historic Royal Palaces; three more family festivals tying in with its ‘Glorious Georges’ season will take place at Hampton Court, Kensington and Kew Palaces later this summer.

Chair of Kids in Museums, broadcaster, author and art expert Philip Mould says, ‘We’re excited to be spreading the success of Takeover Day beyond museums, to enable children and families to be right at the heart of the arts. The young people’s chance to get really involved and contribute fresh ideas doesn’t only benefit them.  It benefits all of us. It brings the arts and heritage alive.’

Kids in Museums partners for Takeover Day Across the Arts are the Barbican, Sadler’s Wells, Oval House Theatre and FirstSite, supported by Arts Council England.

With Takeover Day Across the Arts, the success of the Kids in Museums model of working – giving young and family visitors a powerful voice – will go to the next stage. It’s called Kids in….. (fill in the dots with the art and heritage of your choice) Kids in ….. will be an organisation empowering and including young people and families across the arts. Kids in Museums is pleased to announce Historic Royal Palaces have committed to Kids in Palaces for 2015.

Elizabeth McKay, Chief Learning and Engagement Officer at Historic Royal Palaces, commented: “We are truly excited to share our ambitious new vision for learning and engagement at the palaces. A major part of this will involve working collaboratively with local and national partners including Kids in Museums, and we’re delighted to be participating in the expansion of the Kids in… model by offering fun and distinctive experiences for Kids in Palaces. We want to make families feel really welcome at the palaces and ensure that there is plenty to see and do when they get here. Incorporating hands-on activities and up-to-the-minute technology, the programme will enable people of all ages to explore some of the greatest palaces ever built onsite, offsite and online.”

Takeover Day in museums will be officially launched at Thetford Ancient House Museum, Norfolk on 24 May 2014 by Kids in Museums Patron and Takeover Day Ambassador celebrity children’s author Damian Dibben.

‘I grew up in London and was lucky enough to be taken to a museum nearly every week, sometimes to two or three! Those visits opened up a world of wonder and completely shaped by life. That's why I am so passionate about Kids In Museums - so other kids can have the same opportunities that I had,’ says Damian.

Category: Mezzanine