Make a Museum of Memory and Myth

Make a Museum of Memory and Myth

This lesson plan is inspired by the People's Museum of Memory and Myth made in 2017 at the Pennywell All Care Centre in Edinburgh.

The work was created by artist in residence Hans K Clausen with the support of the local community. The curated collection of objects are displayed in glass fronted boxes and evoke memories of childhood. This permanent work of public art is very professionally displayed and the objects carefully chosen to make an impressive display with something of interest for most people. You can replicate the process the artist used and make your own version of this mini museum in school, using objects collected from your local community, at almost no cost.

Key Stage:

P4-7,KS1 & KS 2 Local History study


Use this lesson plan to kick start the creation of an exhibition of objects collected from home about past and present.

Film about the People's Museum of Memory and Myth

This film was made by young people working with Zoo Arts in Edinburgh and is about two works of art in the Pennywell Care Centre in the city. The first is the People's Museum of Memory and Myth by Hans K Clausen and then Glass Lights by Lindsay Perth. It is the People's Museum of Memory and Myth that is of interest for this lesson plan.
Watch the film and then ask the students how many objects from the boxes they can remember after watching the film just once.
<b> Categorise the objects </b>

Categorise the objects

Watch the film again, this time just taking note of the various objects in the boxes. You can freeze frame the film to make this easier.
There are more than fifty objects so you are unlikely to get them all but they do start to collect into categories. Your group may categorise the objects in their own way but the obvious ones are: toys, objects relating to sport, gadgets, household objects, signs and more.
<b> Create an exhibition </b>

Create an exhibition

Ask the class if they can think of things they would want to put into a mini museum of their own and why.

Ask the group how, without going online, and without spending any money, they could create an exhibition in the classroom of objects that might bring back memories for the people looking at them.
<b> Create an exhibition continued...</b>

Create an exhibition continued...

Next you need to decide if your collection of objects will be random or themed. You could ask students to collect from home or relatives objects that relate to your area but you could also theme your exhibition. Themes that might work well include old toys, holiday souvenirs and sport.
Task the group to source and bring in just one object each. These objects should be of little or no value but interesting enough that the student can say a few words about it's history and why it should be in the museum.
<b> Curator tasks</b>

Curator tasks

Once the objects are in school students can be allocated jobs: writing captions about collection items; creating a time-line of the objects; identifying what the object is made from. They may be able to identify those materials that have remained in use over the past 60 years and others that are no longer common. Some of the objects will be out of date, in that they have been replaced by newer technology. Why were they replaced?
<b> Open your exhibition</b>

Open your exhibition

Choose the final selection of objects and with their labels arrange them in boxes so that they can be viewed by others. Interview parents, dinner ladies, teachers, the caretaker, the head teacher asking three questions.
Which is your favourite object?
What does the object remind you of?
What would you add to our museum collection and why?
Finally evaluate the success of your exhibition and what you would do differently next time.

Development Activity:

You may be able to either visit a local museum to talk to a curator about how she/he organises a small scale exhibition, or invite a curator into school.

Elsewhere on CultureStreet there is a related lesson plan about holiday souvenirs and South Shields Museum. It also includes a film of young people looking at local collections.

Learning Objectives:

Students will know and be able to talk confidently about some changes within living memory.

Research, Notes and Links:

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