When the kids took over

The Kids in Museums Takeover Day is an annual event where museums, galleries, libraries and arts and heritage organisations invite young people in and give them a meaningful role to develop their skills and change how they think about museums.

Kids arrive to take over The National Archives for the day

Kids arrive to take over The National Archives for the day

Sixty-six children from The Blue School in Isleworth arrived at The National Archives on Friday 23 November ready for an ‘in your shoes’ experience. It was the first time The National Archives had taken part; although the day was initiated and planned by our Education department, it was truly a whole-team effort with ten departments taking part.

The children took on roles as conservators, teachers, event organisers and historians, as well as working in front of house and marketing. An uninhibited ‘manifesto’ group even set up a board to interview members of the Executive Team and Heads of Department.

Over to our Marketing team now to hear what the kids got up to when they became ‘roving reporters’ and took over our social media accounts for the day.

As marketing professionals we are always curious to know: what impressions do kids have of The National Archives? What kinds of things do they think we have here and what are they most excited to see when they visit?

For Takeover Day, the Marketing Team enlisted the help of students from The Blue School to help us tell our audiences just what makes The National Archives so brilliant from a child’s perspective.

Kids give us the seal of approval as they explore our site at Kew

Kids give us the seal of approval as they explore our site at Kew

Some of our group took the reins of our Twitter feed, finding photos of animals to participate in the Explore Your Archive campaign, #ArchiveAnimals. The kids excelled at telling our audiences why they should like these photos as much as they did.

Kids turned their hand to Twitter for Takeover Day

Kids turned their hands to Twitter for Takeover Day

We asked others to be our ‘roving reporters’ on a special behind-the-scenes tour of the repositories. They took loads of photos and videos to use on social media. Henry Cole’s ‘Ratty’ even popped up in a few unexpected locations!

Henry Cole's Rat inspects a special letter to Queen Victoria!

Henry Cole’s Rat inspects a special letter to Queen Victoria

During some quiet time at the end of an exciting day our reporters wrote up their experiences into blog posts for our website:

Today I went to The National Archives. When I got there, the sight was wondrous and I couldn’t believe how big the place was.

One of the first ‘historic’ things we saw was an old fashioned letter to the queen, Queen Victoria! I never knew I would see this, I’ve learnt loads about her in school and other places but I never thought I’d see something sooo fascinating!

The writing was really nice, old fashioned, oh the decorations, they were great! So colourful and amazing patterns. However the letter was given to Queen Victoria in the most wonderful box. Brown on the outside and rich red velvet inside.

Ellen, 10, The Blue School

When I first walked in, I saw the huge hall in the centre of the huge building. I was getting really excited when I saw all of the displays, offices and pillars. We were given iPads to share so we went around a large hall using our iPads to take pictures of our visit. After that, we went to the documents and looked at some interesting artefacts and treasures. We got to take pictures and look at all of the vaults.

Fraser, 9, The Blue School

We were so impressed with how the children channelled their enthusiasm and curiosity into our marketing activities and we’d like to thank them for their fresh perspectives.

We were, of course, also delighted to hear them ask the question: ‘How old do you have to be to work at The National Archives?’

Job well done, we think.

The success of the day can be measured in so many ways, not least in Kids In Museums using our image as their headline tweet! A huge thank you to all who made the day such a great success and for helping to create such a memorable experience of The National Archives for our young audiences.

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