Friday, 20 September 2013

Museums Go Wild!

The Oxford University Museums joined forces at this year’s Wilderness Festival (7-10 August), encouraging festival-going families to get creative with craft activities and explore objects from the Museums’ handling collections. The sun shone down on our lovely green yurt as we welcomed some 500 visitors over the course of the weekend.

Fitting perfectly with our Need /Make / Use themes of performance, music and crafts, Wilderness Festival describes itself as ‘a celebration of the arts and outdoors in the wilds of England’ (although the gentle rolling hills of the Cornbury Estate where the festival is held seemed very green and pleasant and not at all wild!). From headline music acts to French trapeze troops, masked balls by lantern light to debates on the future of the planet – there really is something for everyone at Wilderness!

Our yurt was based in the family-friendly area alongside traditional fairground rides, children’s entertainers and circus skills tents. Our visitors let their imaginations run wild to create beautiful hats, taking inspiration from examples in the Pitt Rivers’ collection – oh, and some staff had a go too! 

Visitors to our yurt also enjoyed making planispheres from the Museum of the History of Science (useful to spot and name star constellations if they were going to camp over that night), peacock headdresses from the Natural History Museum and their own replica Alfred Jewel from the Ashmolean. The handling table proved popular, giving families the chance to stroke a zebra hide, get up close to a five-metre long snake skin and perform a dance with the Pitt Rivers’ own Chinese lion mask.

Children performing with the Chinese new year lion mask
And just to prove that museums are cool and do have a place a music festival, here are some great comments from our visitor’s book…We know how to let our hair down and go a bit wild!

Brilliant information and exhibits for the kids to enjoy and learn something at the festival!

My three children were enthralled for ages with the exhibits and activities. Staff were really engaging and enthusiastic.

Perfect! History and craft make great partners! My children loved this and spent loads of time here creating as well as gaining an understanding of history. 

Getting to grips with how a 200-year-old slide microscope worked

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