16 JUL 2014

Tourism Minister & Maidstone MP Helen Grant bangs the drum for schools' 'Explorer Day' at Maidstone Museum

Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone & The Weald and Minister for Tourism, attended a schools' 'Explorer Day' at Maidstone Museum on Friday as part of the Museums and Schools' project funded by the Department for Education through Arts Council England, which aims to inspire children to become regular museum & cultural users.

Commenting on the visit, Helen said:

"I had a fantastic day at Maidstone Museum on Friday and I'm proud to bang the drum for the schools' 'Explorer Day' initiative as the local MP, as Minister for Tourism and as President of the Board of Trustees for Maidstone Museums' Foundation.

"Indeed, banging the Japanese Taiko drums with the children provided the highlight of the day's entertainment - and it was brilliant to see the children so engaged in the range of educational activities that the Museum offers.

"Maidstone Museum is a superb local attraction boasting an internationally renowned collection of artefacts - a great day out for all the family and a fun but informative way of keeping the kids entertained over the summer holidays!"

Maidstone Museum Cultural Services Manager, Laura Case, added:

"The event has been a wonderful opportunity to provide access to our ethnographic collections through the Museums and School's project, funded by Arts Council England. Schools that visited us were inspired by our amazing objects and the exciting activities that we ran linked to the objects countries of origin. We will be running more events like this in future as they are a great stimulus for creativity and engagement with heritage."

Notes to editors

  • The Museums and Schools Project began in late 2012 and runs until March 2015 with the overarching aim to inspire children to become regular museum & cultural users by visiting a museum three times over the lifetime of the project.
  • Maidstone Museum has been given funding through the Project to increase engagement with schools, particularly those in areas of deprivation, based on the percentage of Free School Meals in the school. The Project's target is to see 8,100 pupils coming into the Museum at least three times each (on top of the baseline of 3,840 each year). There is a passport scheme which tracks this progress: the first visit needs to be made with school but children can return with school or family and friends to gain another stamp in their passport. Each of the 10 regional museums involved in the project is partnered with a national museum, in this case the British Museum, from which Maidstone Museum has organised a spotlight loan of the Pyramidion of Wedjahor.
  • The Museum has increased the number of schools visiting the Learning Team by more than 100%, with visitor numbers also hugely increased. As part of the project, the Museum held 'Explorer Days' on 9, 10 and 11 July, inviting schools to take part in different cultural activities based on the Brenchley Collection of ethnography. Julius Brenchley was a Victorian traveller who brought back objects from the South Pacific, Australia, North America and Japan, amongst other places. The days included an opportunity to try Japanese drumming, take part in theatre workshops based on Australian legend, and create masks based on the many examples in the galleries. The activities were free, and 100 children attended each of the three days.
  • For more information visit: http://www.museum.maidstone.gov.uk/ 

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