Takeover Day Diary

Remember back in November when I took part in museum Takeover Day at the Booth Museum, then said I’d blog about it and never did? Well, guess what I’ll be writing about today! Let’s start at the beginning…

Takeover Day is a way of getting younger people more involved in galleries and museums. Everyone that participates does it differently, but roles include shadowing staff, giving their own tours and even taking over Director’s offices.

Once again, I was given the password to @BrightonMuseums twitter feed (woo-hoo!) and access to all the behind the scenes excitement at the Booth. My goals for the day were pretty simple, to explore, to learn and to have fun. While I was there, I also continued to research about Mr Booth himself for a project with the Museum Collective.

Now, because I have a lot to say and I don’t want to overwhelm you with loads to read, I’m going to split this post into two. In this first part, I’ll give you a detailed summary of what I got up to and the second part will be more of a reflection on my thoughts and feelings from the day.

Here we go!

7:00AM – Time to get up and out of bed. Urgh, soo early!

9:45AM – Breakfast on the train on the way to Brighton. I’m also making notes in my Museum Collective notebook about all the important things to remember like the hashtag.

11:00AM – Arrived at the Booth Museum ready to get to work. We had a briefing about the day ahead and I was introduced to the writer in residence, Mike. I was given a key and a camera so I was free to roam around.

11:30AM– Tweet, tweet, tweet!

12:00PM – After tweeting and checking the hashtag to see what everyone else was up to, I went to investigate the archives of the museum. It was a little spooky going through things on my own, but exciting to see what I could find. The cupboards are full of different animals and it made me feel like I was exploring the world without actually having to travel.

12:30PM– The Museum is closed to visitors for lunch, so I took the opportunity to take the camera out and photograph some of the exhibits. I did want to tweet them and see who could guess what animal the skeleton belonged to, but technology didn’t want to co-operate so that idea took a backseat.

1:15PM – A school trip arrived for the afternoon. They’re greeted by a role-playing volunteer who talks to them all about who Mr Booth was and what he did. History was brought to life and the children all seemed interested in what Mrs Booth had to say.

1:30PM – There was also a representative from Green Peace at the museum, so I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her job. Standing in a room surrounded by animals is a great reminder than we’re not the only ones on this planet and we have a responsibility to look after it. It’s sad to read some of the labels about the incredible species that are now extinct, but hopefully we can work to stop it happening so much.

2:00PM – Back to twitter to catch everyone up on my day.

2:30PM – More exploring in the archives. I never realised how many different types of butterflies there were. Seeing some with wings almost as big as my hand really changed my perspective on how big the moths I find in my bedroom actually are.

3:00PM – After the school children has left, I asked Penny who was playing Mrs Booth about what they’d been doing and what other characters she plays. They’d spent a while talking about the history of the museum they were in and then moved onto something a little more practical. If you’ve never been to the Booth Museum, there are cases of birds covering the walls, and it was the perfect place for the children to learn more about them. They even had some feathers to look at under microscopes.

4:00pm – As I was talking with the visitor services staff, some of the visitors joined in our discussions about the museum. It was really interesting to hear that they’d visited many times over the years, but didn’t know that it’s called The Booth Museum after the founder, Mr Edward Booth. I’d been researching the man and his life for a project, so I was able to explain that he was the first person to create scenes for his birds, showing not just the creatures but the environment they lived in in the wild. Because of him, everyone from the Victorian England to the visitors of today, can learn much more about the other animals that inhabited the British Isles. What a man, and what a truly amazing place.

Check back soon for part two of Takeover Day!

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