How History is Made – Takeover Day at the Mary Rose Museum

The Mary Rose Museum has taken part in Kids in Museums’ Takeover Day for the last five years and today Year 8 pupils from Portsmouth High School dicoverd how history was made at the museum

It’s amazing to come face to face with the past.

Pupil taking part in Mary Rose Museum's Takeover Day

Clare Barnes Learning Officer, at the Mary Rose Museum said the learning team get involved in Takeover Day in order to get new insights into our museum from young people.

“We enjoy working with our local community and trying new things,” she said. “For the museum it’s a chance to experiment and test new ideas to extend our current programme. It’s a mutually beneficial day for both the school and the museum in terms of PR.” This year the museum focused on ‘how history is made’ with the goal of extending the range of stories from our collection. They wanted to see how many stories the pupils could tease out of the objects, which they think are most interesting, what is missing or hard to find from the evidence available and how the museum could tell those stories in different ways.

“We had a great day looking at the big question of how history is created and how museums can contribute to creating the most complete picture of the past,” said Barnes. “The girls were particularly interested in the way in which objects are chosen by curators to tell stories.2

One pupil agreed with the Mary Rose Museum’s approach to show broken or incomplete objects as well as the best examples of their kind: “Museums should choose the artefacts with the best stories, not necessarily the most complete or well preserved artefacts.”

The girls were keen to ask their own questions when visiting museums and be given the freedom to interpret items for themselves especially where the answers are not clear cut. They liked the visual nature and immediacy of artefacts; one pupil said: “It’s amazing to come face to face with the past.”