Creative Children Curating Collections

Exhibitions, Life and Environmental Sciences
Saturday 24th November 2018 (10:00) - Saturday 2nd March 2019 (17:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Anna Chrystal, Learning and Community Outreach Officer


Creative Children Curating Collections: step back and look at objects, museums and the wider world through the eyes of  a child.  

The Lapworth Museum has been working with nurseries across Birmingham in an exciting and innovative project. ‘Creative Children Curating Collections’ is a new approach for the Lapworth, as this exhibition has been curated by 3-5yr olds. We have passed over the curative power to toddlers, to find out their take on the Museum and our collections.

We hope you will enjoy this imaginative take on museum curation! This exhibtion was funded though Arts Council England.

Children view the world very differently to adults.

In an adult’s busy and often hectic day to day life, it can be easy to forget and overlook the simple pleasures. With particular reference to science, we are taught to be systematic in our approach to fact finding. This method, although highly effective, can to some degree remove us further from this imaginative and creative child’s eye view of the world. Our aim with this exhibition is to allow visitors to step back and looks at objects, museums and the wider world through the eyes of children. 

What is a museum? Why do we collect objects? Who visits museums and why? 


Each week, over a four month period, the Museums Learning Team visited four nurseries across Birmingham. During visits the Learning Team explored different themes, ranging from fossils and dinosaurs (a firm favourite), through to what is a Museum and who visits them? Themes were explored through the use of stories, games and real museum objects.

Part of the project involved getting our ‘curators’ to visit the Museum – for some the first time they had set foot in a Museum! As adults we have a preconception of how we believe we are expected to behave in a Museum, this is not always the case with toddlers.

“I have never heard so much noise in the Museum! It was a wonderful experience to hear such excited chatter mixed with Dinosaur Roars… Just how I like it! It is an outdated misconception to assume that you must be studious and quiet in a museum.” Anna Chrystal (Learning and Public Engagement Manager – Lapworth Museum of Geology)

During visits to the Museum the toddlers engaged with a range of artists, including Bob Nicholls a leading Paleoartist, and even got the chance to meet Mary Anning, a historical pioneering Geologist.  Toddlers were also given exclusive access to a new collection at the Lapworth. The toddlers were given a range of museum specimens, asked to pick their favourite and tell us what they thought it was and why it should be in a museum.

“Working with our lovely creative curators has been really insightful – I have certainly learnt lots from them! Our curators have been given special access to a new collection recently acquired by the Museum and it has been really nice to see this young group engage with real museum objects.  If you put your trust in a toddler they won’t let you down!” Anna Chrystal (Learning and Public Engagement Manager – Lapworth Museum of Geology)

Their responses and answers have formed the basis of the Exhibition and have formed how we have displayed specimens.

"It has been an absolute pleasure to work with our young group of curators on such an inspiring project. Spending time with them has opened my eyes to seeing museum objects in a more unusual and humorous light. Not everything is as it seems!" Aerona Moore (Learning & Engagement Officer – Lapworth Museum of Geology)


What’s next for our ‘curators’?

The Lapworth Learning Team are continuing their relationship with the nurseries and are visiting the ‘curators’ on a regular basis. The Lapworth are hopefully that this relationship and experience will have inspired our toddlers and their families to visit museums and to take a deeper interest in the natural world, science and our heritage.


‘Creative Children Curating Collections’ was funded by Arts Council England as part of its National Portfolio Scheme. The Lapworth is embarking on a four year project which will see it working closely with a number of community groups.