Skip Navigation

Case Studies - Playful Museums

Playful Museums

Armagh County Museum

Activities for younger children aged 3-5 years

Date: Saturday 11th and 25th February 11:00 am– 1:00pm

Attendees: 170

Armagh

This was an opportunity for younger children to meet the Museum’s mascots – Alice and Arthur and explore the museum using a simple trail.  Along the way there were books to read, puzzles to solve and crafts to make.  This was a drop in event so no booking was necessary.

This project ran in conjunction with the Playful Museums Heritage Lottery Fund project during the Playful Museum Festival month which Armagh County Museum took part in.  It was aimed at encouraging young families to visit the Museum.  It also enabled visitor guides to engage with visitors of a younger age making their visit to the Museum a very positive and effective learning experience.

It is important for ACM to take part in this festival because we are keen to widen visitor engagement and encourage children of a young age to visit Museums – they are not as dull as they sound! 

There is a small team of enthusiastic staff always willing to assist and learn about new projects.  These events took place on Saturdays and 2 members of staff were involved in delivering the session.

There were no written evaluations taken at either event however, visitor feedback was very positive and there were return visitors at the second event. There were 70 visitors at the first event and 100 at the second. Visitors were keen to find out when the next event would take place.

NIMC supported this event by funding resources used at each session.  By developing resources in the Museum it increased the quality of visit for young visitors and their parents/guardians.  The Museum became a more interactive, engaging and family friendly place. 

The success for these events has prompted the need to continue with an early years programme at various times throughout the year eg Easter, Halloween and Christmas. We hope to invest in more resources for early years to make their visitor experience event better.  We also hope to roll out an early years/preschool programme during May and June 2017.

 

Armagh Public Library and No5 Vicars Hill

Date: 14/11/16 - 30/03/17

Attendees: To date:  132 children and 92 adults

The Library and No 5 have traditionally concentrated on the formal education sector (Key Stage 1 and 2) and on the adult sector for life-long learning.  We participated in the project to encourage early years to visit our sites and to give confidence to the Library’s team to deliver enjoyable activities with little ones and parents/carers.  This was a new venture, with the potential for new audience development and new relationships with local groups.

Early Years groups were located through ArKe Sure Start who ensured that the Library and No 5 worked with different age ranges within the early years sector - parents and babies, 2–3 year olds, Dads’ group with children up to 5 years.

12 events were arranged to include storytelling, music, puppetry and arts/crafts. 

Facilitators were:

Liz Weir, story teller;

Paul Howard, children’s author/illustrator – in partnership with the Book Trust

Sarah Lyle (‘Polly Poppet’), singing and actions - in partnership with the Book Trust

Tartaraghan Puppet Theatre with specially written scripts, performed by young people;

Anne Quail, arts and crafts;

Emma Hawthorne, arts and crafts;

and finally the Library’s own empowered team!

We have received the most supportive evaluations from parents and carers.

12 events were held during the life of the project. These events have allowed us to welcome 132 children and 92 adults.  Only 2 adults had visited the Library and No 5 before, so this project has really helped to reach new audiences.

We would wish to continue this initiative beyond the project.

Many thanks to NIMC and HLF for making this possible.

 

Carrickfergus Museum

Date: 9th November (first session delivered) - 14th December (last session delivered)

26th January (completion of Play Zone)

Attendees: 10 children x 6 sessions

Building Castles Festival Event- 300+

Playzone area - 1120

Baby Sensory - 195

Carrickfergus Museum was keen to take part in this pilot programme as we were aware that the museum was not particularly child-friendly. This was a welcome and timely opportunity to develop activities to engage a younger audience with the museum.

Of key importance was to deliver age appropriate resources and activities whilst incorporating key local historical themes and museum objects.

The local Sure Start branch was very happy to help support us in developing a creative programme designed to promote early years’ development. They provided advice on a suitable age range and handpicked the participants aged 2 – 2 œ to attend. 

It was decided that each session would follow the same format and include a mix of rhythm & rhyme, storytelling, arts & crafts and free play.  Carrickfergus castle and the historical town were key themes and these were linked to the museum’s collections.

We saw definite change in the attitudes of the parents and carers during the programme. Whereas previously they would not have thought the museum a suitable place to bring their small children, they became familiar with the environment and happy to bring their children back for repeat visits to the Play Zone.

Grace Cahoon, Family Support Team Leader at Horizon SureStart said: “We have been excited to be involved with this new 6 week programme at the museum. The parents who have been attending have enjoyed the weekly sessions and the staff running the programme are enthusiastic and passionate about sharing the history of the town through activity, craft and singing. We have enjoyed being a part of this exciting new project and our families have appreciated the opportunity to attend a brand new programme”.

As a direct result of our investment in the pilot programme we have been able to establish a relationship with a local facilitator of Baby Sensory sessions. To date, two events have been held in the museum, totalling 195 participants (babies + parents/carers). Going forward it is planned to hold these sessions in the museum on a monthly basis.

Following on from the success of the six week pilot programme, and as a result of the increase in staff confidence this has brought, we have developed two bookable workshops aimed at supporting the pre-school curriculum. We have successfully delivered two Fire engine workshops to Sullatober Daycare Nursery and Silverstream Nursery school, for which we received positive feedback from the carers/teachers. We have had interest from a number of other nurseries, and we look forward to welcoming more pre-school age children in the future.

 

Coleraine Museum - Wee Hands on History

Date: November 2016 - February 2017

Attendees: 60 children

Through completed visitor evaluation forms we noticed that Coleraine Museum at Coleraine Town Hall has a very traditional audience of older people. This is something we wanted to address, so NIMC’s Playful Museum project came at an opportune time.

Through Playful Museums, Coleraine Museum at Coleraine Town Hall, wanted to engage with local nursery schools to increase knowledge of the Museum and the Sam Henry collection and to make Coleraine Museum at Coleraine Town Hall a welcoming place for an early years audience to visit.

We were able to bring several local nurseries into Coleraine Museum at Coleraine Town Hall for interactive music workshops. This was followed with a series of workshops with Kylemore Nursery School finishing with a mini performance for their parents at a community centre near their school. This involved stories and songs from the Sam Henry collection.

Evaluation forms were used with parents and nursery staff at the first workshop. At Kylemore the children placed star stickers on photographs of their favourite workshop. Feedback was positive.

“Excellently constructed allowing children to interact in songs and story.”

“Just thank the girls for bringing my son out of himself a bit. And showing him music can be fun.”

NIMC funding enabled Coleraine Museum to purchase materials for a play area which will become a permanent fixture in each of our temporary exhibitions. It enabled us to work with some fantastic workshop facilitators who brought the Sam Henry collection to life for the under 5’s audience. It has also enabled us to develop a loan box with accompanying activities aimed at an early years audience. We also plan on using our new facilitators for family events planned to coincide with our summer exhibition – Irish History Starts Here.

 

Craigavon Museum Service

Date: February 2017

Attendees: 62

Craigavon Museum Services participated in February 2017’s Playful Museums Festival for under 5s. We had 62 big and small visitors across two afternoons at the Barn Museum. They joined Cyril Squirrel to hear classic animal stories and try our outdoor activity trail. Visitors enjoyed the new family friendly space and we got some 10 out of 10 ratings from parents. One commented how it was an “enjoyable approach to rhymes for children”.

We wanted to make the Barn Museum more family friendly and to entice early years. There are 5 galleries and the School Room is where our activities took place. It was suitable for school age visitors, with old fashioned desks, but no play area for younger children. The grant has helped us to purchase a wigwam, support materials and a badge making machine.

We also wanted to encourage young visitors to stay longer and to extend their learning experience outside. The Barn Museum is located at Tannaghmore Gardens with great points of interest, including sculptures, a maze and gardens to explore. The funding helped us to print an outdoor trail suitable for a range of ages. Early years children can complete it with the help of a parent while they are exploring the great outdoors. The trail takes 15 minutes to complete and kids return to the Barn Museum for a surprise on finishing where they get a badge.

Play

The trail has longevity and is now a permanent learning resource at the Barn Museum. We liaised with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s Park’s Department with its development and we are delighted that they will be using it. We will be supplying the trail for a children’s Easter event that the Parks Department have organised which demonstrates its value as a resource for Tannaghmore Gardens as well as the Barn Museum.

 

F.E McWilliam Gallery and Studio

Date: 09/2016 - 02/2017

Attendees: 360

The aim of our participation in the project was to improve our provision for Early years and their parents/carers. We wanted to change pre-conceptions about art galleries and encourage people to consider our Gallery as a place where children and families are always welcome.

The project involved delivering workshops, events and providing art materials for early years audiences on site:

•           3 Baby Sensory sessions (0-13 months) on 17th September, 22nd October and 19th November with 20 babies and 20 parents attending each.  Tierna McClinton from Baby Sensory South NI ran classes. A member of staff had to come in early on these dates to open the Gallery for Tierna to set up.

•           Baby Massage weekly sessions from October to end of February were delivered in the studio by Julie Rodgers, Daisy Foundation. Due to the popularity of the classes she also decided to run an extra Baby Yoga class. 23 classes in total (excluding those that took place for Playful Museums Festival).

•           5 Toddler Tuesdays drop in sessions in the Gallery with artist Millie Moore focusing on famous artists. These began as drop in sessions but due to the popularity of the classes, one week saw 35 individuals turning up, we had to introduce pre-booking. In total 65 children and their carers benefitted from the workshops. A casual member of staff needed to be on hand to help Millie set up and also assist during the workshops.

•           Art materials and colouring pages were made available in the studio and gallery space. Signage was also put up around the gallery to advise parents of this.

Following on from this Pilot Project we have realised that a significant improvement to provision for early years audiences can come from making simple changes, such as providing child-friendly seating. Hosting classes like Baby Massage and Baby Sensory has brought new visitors to the gallery which we hope will encourage repeat visits. There were also challenges, the Baby Sensory classes required a great deal of space and this is not always practical in the Gallery space as artworks have to be moved. NIMC funding enabled us to engage artist Millie Moore to deliver the Toddler Tuesday workshops, as well as purchasing art materials for early years visitors.

 

Fermanagh Museum at Enniskillen Castle

Date: February 2017

Attendees: 388

Enniskillen Castle Museums hosted a month of playful museums activities for under 5s on Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday mornings. 

The event turned out to be highly successful for all of the activities we held.

Jo Jingles (music & movement for babies and children) -both drop In and bookable sessions were really well attended and proved to be extremely popular.

The story telling sessions were a real hit with groups and individuals alike.  Although not all of the sessions in the first week were filled this changed over the course of the month as the project obviously gathered its own momentum.  

Arts and Crafts sessions were a success with the older children 

The New “Cosy Corner” area for young children, with displays of old toys provided an ideal space for all of the activities with easy access for groups and mums with prams alike.

The brightly coloured space attracted children in the first instance. 

All who visited the programme go a chance to visit the “Seen But not Heard” an exhibition on childhood on loan to us from the Monaghan Co. Museum.  The exhibition is in the upstairs temporary gallery of the same building as the “Cosy Corner.”

The playful museums project was a great success. The numbers attracted to the sessions grew week by week-so much so that the facilitators had to provide longer sessions.

Objectives were meet, there were 388 people at the various events-children and their carers.

Families returned week on week for specific activities and new audiences were attracted to the site.

Partnerships were more firmly established local nursery units and smaller child care providers.

The most significant output was the attraction of new audiences to the museum and in particular to the new cosy corner in the heritage centre. All of the activities were provided free of charge to the groups and families who attended.

All of those who visited a specific activity were then given a guided tour of the temporary exhibition on Childhood. The families who visited or mummies who attended oft time stayed after the activity went to the coffee shop and looked around the wider museum. No resources were purchased but the audience was introduced to the displays with the museum.

Building on the success of the Playful Museums programme we intend to hold at least Under 5 morning a month.

 

Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum

Development Programme for Under-Fives at Lisburn Museum

Date: October 2016 – April 2017

Attendees:

Nursery Sessions – 212

Flaxie Buds Bonanza 1065

Drop in area 991

Lisburn Museum wanted to develop its offer for under-fives and their families, an audience that needed to be developed.  A Flaxie character was created in 1995 and an activities area for young children to play, create and read has always been part of the education service.  Playful museum’s funding was the catalyst for developing these and exploring this audience segment, to improve what Lisburn Museum offered. 

The Playful Museums initiative:

- provided staff training from Playboard experts (invaluable)

- provided funding to update the activities area with bright colourful bespoke mats, cushions and furniture

- allowed us to commission an illustrator and a puppet maker who each helped modernise Flaxie and bring it to life. Plans are also in progress for “out and about” boxes”. These will have 30 Flaxie puppets and stimulus materials which in the first instance, will tell the story of linen. We aim to have three of these operating at any one time.

Further funding applications have been made to develop Flaxie and purchase aprons and the “out and about” boxes for outreach work. 

One of the most significant developments has been the creation of new partnerships.  Playful Museums provided the impetus for the setting up of a Nursery Advisory Group (NAG), advising on appropriate furniture and materials and helping to get Flaxie embodied into a hand-puppet.  This group will continue to meet twice a year to inform and advise our education team.

NONE of this would have happened without NIMC funding and support.

 

Mid Antrim Museum

Date: 11/2/2017

Play area – throughout February

As part of the Playful Museums Festival, Mid Antrim Museum aimed to utilise the museum collection wall and atrium to make this a welcoming space for families. The funding from NIMC enabled us to set up a small toddler play area in the museum atrium to encourage more families with young children to explore this space.

As part of the Playful Museums Festival, the grant enabled Mid Antrim museum to pilot interactive storytelling as an activity. This event was offered free over two sessions, along with a craft activity and incorporated movement and dance into the story which proved to be popular and appropriate to this age group. 

Overall, Mid Antrim Museum is committed to making the museum more family friendly through provision of the play area.

Comments from those attending the Saturday sessions have encouraged Mid Antrim Museum to undertake further programming for this age group in the future where appropriate.

‘It is great to have an indoor experience which incorporates play and learning’

‘Great idea, would love to see more events’

‘Very well run and accommodating to the age group’

‘Length of session was ideal for 2 year old’

‘Fun for kids and a great way to use the museum’

‘Great event, we would love to see more of this locally’

MAM

 

Northern Ireland War Memorial

Hey Little Hen - 1940's music & storytelling for children

Date: Monday 6th February and Friday 10th February 2017.

Attendees: 15

The War Memorial Museum offered four music and storytelling workshops for children aged 2-5 during the Playful Museums Festival in February 2017. The workshops were designed to involve the museum exhibition and handling collection and were kindly supported by the NIMC.

The War Memorial Museum had not worked with children aged 0-5 before. From an analysis of the museum’s visitor profile, this group had been identified as non-users and therefore potential users of the museum.

The aim of taking part in the Playful Museums Festival was to increase opportunities to engage with these non-users, increase staff knowledge and experience of working with early years and build partnerships with other museums and professionals offering similar programmes.

War Memorial staff attended a number of Playful Museums workshops organised by NIMC in late 2016 to learn more about the Playful Museums programme. The workshops provided inspiration and an insight into how the museum could create opportunities for under 5s to engage with the Second World War collection. These workshops and a subsequent meeting with the NIMC Playful Museums Programme Coordinator helped the museum manager to put together an action plan of how the museum could work with under 5s. Consequently the museum submitted a successful action plan application to be involved in the Playful Museum Festival in February 2017.

The museum engaged a children’s entertainment company Squiggles and Giggles to help design and facilitate the fun and energetic music and storytelling sessions. The Squiggles and Giggles facilitator was briefed on the theme for the workshops which was relevant to the War Memorial collection. The workshops were designed to relate to a collection of objects, stories and music relating to food rationing and the Dig for Victory campaign. 

Squiggles and Giggles created a story based on the 1940s song ‘Hey Little Hen’. The story punctuated the workshop which involved following a ‘Hey Little Hen’ puppet around the exhibition. The grant received from NIMC allowed the War Memorial to engage Squiggles and Giggles and to purchase traditional wooden toys, puppets and wooden musical instruments which were used to encourage participation and movement during the storytelling session. The grant also allowed the museum to purchase cushions and quilts which were used to create a Playful Museums corner where the children were seated comfortably.

The workshops were advertised by NIMC and the War Memorial displayed posters and undertook to deliver Playful Museum Festival leaflets to various locations in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast. The workshops were also advertised on the museum’s website and social media.

The workshops were offered free of charge but booking was required. There was a lot of interest in the workshops, however in the end the workshops were attended by only 15 participants. While many interested parties signed up, participants didn’t always show up. Regardless of lower than anticipated numbers, museum staff felt that the workshops had been very successful and of a high quality and that they learnt a lot from the experience.

For the workshops, a corner of the museum was temporarily transformed with toys, soft furnishing and musical instruments. This created a welcoming atmosphere for young visitors and set the scene for the workshop. During the workshop there was a high level of participation by children as they sang songs and interacted with the facilitator from Squiggles and Giggles. The ‘Hey Little Hen’ story was well received and the children followed the story and the puppet around the museum. The children played enthusiastically with the traditional toys and musical instruments.

Feedback captured on forms provided by NIMC was excellent. Parents commented that their children enjoyed the sessions so much that they “didn’t want to leave” and that they had a “fun and enriching experience”. Most visitors had not heard of the War Memorial until they saw the Playful Museum sessions advertised. Some attendees took to Facebook to leave feedback stating that they had great fun and would be interested in future sessions for under 5s. Photographs of the event capture the engagement of the children and how much they and their parents enjoyed the activities.

The War Memorial would like to offer similar activities again, and perhaps on a regular basis. The support received from NIMC has allowed the museum to build up suitable resources for early years, which are now stored in a ‘Playful Museums’ toy box in the gallery. Visitors with young children are now encouraged to use the toys, the ‘Hey Little Hen’ storybook and the musical instruments to help their children to engage with the museum. The War Memorial plans to offer more facilitated sessions when it can establish a suitable day and time for parents in the area. Becoming an established location for early years and becoming better known for offering such sessions will allow the War Memorial to gradually build an audience.

Through involvement with the Playful Museums Festival, the War Memorial has been able to reach out to new audiences, get to know families in the area, and develop a fun workshop which tells stories associated with our collection in a way that is suitable for under 5s.

NIWM

 

North Down Museum

Date:17th February 2017

Attendees: 450+

North Down Museum chose to become part of the Playful Museums programme in order to increase our offering for children under 5, their parents and carers.  We did this through a fun-filled event ‘Toddlers take over the Museum’ aimed at children aged three to five years old.  We offered storytelling, puppet shows, and two separate craft activities.  The event worked very well.  We had approximately 400 people attend and feedback was very good.  We also attracted many new families who have never been before.

Part of the funding application was also to purchase new equipment for toddlers that could be used regularly in the museum and encourage young families to come back.  The museum has put in place a dress up corner including insect costumes and a mirror, an interactive puzzle table and added to our natural heritage interactive.  These items are all now part of our Castle Park permanent gallery.

While the museum was always aware of the importance of our young families audience, this programme has enabled us, for the first time, to target this audience in a meaningful way.  Going forward, the plan is to look at all our events/galleries to see where we can add in elements to suit under 5s.  We would also like to offer a similar event next year.

ND

 

Ulster American Folk Park

Wellies, songs and stories

Date: February 2017

Attendees: 580

The Ulster American Folk Park was delighted to be chosen as the only National Museum site to be awarded a Playful Museums Festival grant.  The project aimed to engage with a much younger audience than we normally attract.  We designed a much shorter and more suitable tour for under 5s and their families.  This tour was a short introduction to the history of emigration from Ulster to America, taking around 1 œ hours in total.  Our publicity provided a taster to the tours, encouraging family groups with younger children to come along:

Comments:

Tour the Old World side of the Folk Park visiting the Blacksmith’s Forge, Weaver’s cottage, the Mellon Farmhouse, the Campbell House, Castletown School, going through the Ship and Dockside gallery before arriving in the American street. 

Watch the Blacksmith make a horseshoe, see Mrs Mellon cook on the open fire, taste freshly made pancakes and hear stories in the School House. Enjoy a sing-along for everyone in the American General Store.

The Museum is a safe, outdoor environment which allows children to explore nature, learn about the past and have new experiences. Recommended for children under 5 years who will all be admitted free of charge on the day.”

Staff were fully engaged with this new initiative and thoroughly enjoyed their interaction with these younger children and their families.  Evaluation was undertaken and some of the comments really bring the programme to life:

Fab event- very age appropriate, not too long, singing great fun, friendly guide

Excellent and informative, from each of the houses we visited.  Learned some new things.  Great to have some special holiday activities put on.  Many thanks.

Excellent and informative tour which took in the highlights of the Park.  The tour guide really made it extra special.  It was a magical day, well worth the visit.  We will definitely visit again.  Amazing. Enjoyable. Fun, learning experience

The funding from NIMC allowed the Ulster American Folk Park to plan and deliver this event. As the tours were so successful, we are now planning to deliver a “Wellies, Songs and Stories” tour for family groups on a monthly basis.  These will take place on the last Saturday of each month from April to September.  An entirely new, informal learning programme was created for the Playful Museums Festival and it is now an embedded part of our public programming.

 

Tower Museum

Date: February/ March 2017

Attendees: 18 children + parents at each of the 5 sessions.

The Tower Museum received funding from the NIMC to run a programme as part of the project.   The programme was called “Tiny Tots at the Tower”.

The programme ran over 5 weeks starting on 1 February 2017 and finishing on the 1 March 2017.  Each of the 5 sessions was fully booked within a week of being advertised, Approximately 40 parents registered their interest in the Playful Museums programme.  This figure does not take into account telephone calls after the event.  Each session catered for 18 children. 

Each session was researched and delivered by Betty Doherty, Assistant Education and Access Officer with the help of colleagues Alison Murray and Amy Dillon with the exception of session 3 which was delivery by a Ellen Hastings, a qualified yoga instructor.  The sessions were titled as follows

Session 1        Children’s Sing-along and Developing Senses

Session 2        Story telling – using old time toys

Session 3        Baby Yoga, Massage and Reflexology

Session 4        Walk in the Footsteps of Dinosaurs

Session 5        Who and I and Where do I live?

Feedback from the first 4 sessions was very positive

Session 1 & 2

“A lovely get together with other toddlers and parents with some songs and colouring in.  A fantastic opportunity for toddler’s o learn and see new things”

“Great fun, my child loved coming.  So far so good we booked in for the full event”

“Excellent resources and staff very friendly and have obviously spent a lot of time preparing for the sessions.  Good mix of guided singing and free play suited to toddlers and babies”

“Such an excellent idea to get kids interested in museum’s at a young age.  My daughter has been really excited about coming”

“I thoroughly enjoyed today’s session.  Songs and nursery rhymes.  Ryleigh enjoyed all the great props and scenery.  Really enjoyable props and scenery.  Staff were brilliant – very helpful”

Session 3

“Lovely class.  Individual elements very good.  Hard to control little people – lovely instructor.  Great idea”

“A lovely variety of reflexology, yoga and massage – a fantastic initiative”

“I found today very interesting and informative.  I think they are very good as it provides more opportunities to get out with younger children”

“Very useful exercises.  Excellent for new experiences”

Session 4

“So much to do in two hours – great educational activities cunningly disguises as dinosaurs – I think this Mama has as much fun as her son!  Highlight of our week!  I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for future events – a great initiative and most enjoyable – plus a quick look around the “actual” museum as well added to the experience.  Thank You!!”

“Excellent facilitators, lovely experience in a beautiful space”

“Brilliant day.  Same had a great time.  Keep up the good work!”

Best day yet.  Loved all the different activities wit the magic sand and paint”

“Very welcome, lots to do.  Great activities!  Amazing programme – hope it continues”

“Very well done, great activities for the children, friendly staff and lovely venue”

“Good variety of activities – good things to make and take”

“Lovely morning.  Plenty of age appropriate activities – great idea”

 

Ulster American Folk Park

Wellies, songs and stories

Date: February 2017

Attendees: 580

The Ulster American Folk Park was delighted to be chosen as the only National Museum site to be awarded a Playful Museums Festival grant.  The project aimed to engage with a much younger audience than we normally attract.  We designed a much shorter and more suitable tour for under 5s and their families.  This tour was a short introduction to the history of emigration from Ulster to America, taking around 1 œ hours in total.  Our publicity provided a taster to the tours, encouraging family groups with younger children to come along:

Comments:

Tour the Old World side of the Folk Park visiting the Blacksmith’s Forge, Weaver’s cottage, the Mellon Farmhouse, the Campbell House, Castletown School, going through the Ship and Dockside gallery before arriving in the American street. 

Watch the Blacksmith make a horseshoe, see Mrs Mellon cook on the open fire, taste freshly made pancakes and hear stories in the School House. Enjoy a sing-along for everyone in the American General Store. 

The Museum is a safe, outdoor environment which allows children to explore nature, learn about the past and have new experiences. Recommended for children under 5 years who will all be admitted free of charge on the day.”

Staff were fully engaged with this new initiative and thoroughly enjoyed their interaction with these younger children and their families.  Evaluation was undertaken and some of the comments really bring the programme to life:

Fab event- very age appropriate, not too long, singing great fun, friendly guide

Excellent and informative, from each of the houses we visited.  Learned some new things.  Great to have some special holiday activities put on.  Many thanks.

Excellent and informative tour which took in the highlights of the Park.  The tour guide really made it extra special.  It was a magical day, well worth the visit.  We will definitely visit again.  Amazing. Enjoyable. Fun, learning experience

The funding from NIMC allowed the Ulster American Folk Park to plan and deliver this event. As the tours were so successful, we are now planning to deliver a “Wellies, Songs and Stories” tour for family groups on a monthly basis.  These will take place on the last Saturday of each month from April to September.  An entirely new, informal learning programme was created for the Playful Museums Festival and it is now an embedded part of our public programming.

UAFP