28 Nov 2018

Tags: Get involved

This November Reading Museum has celebrated our second annual Take-Over Day, the culmination of a 6 month Take-Over project with St John’s C of E Primary School.

Display of leaflets and posters relating to Take Over Day
Take-Over Day Display

Take-Over Day is a nationwide initiative designed to encourage organisations to celebrate children and young people’s contributions to museums by giving them meaningful roles, working alongside staff and volunteers. This is a really exciting opportunity for children to take control and share their vision on a public platform.

Reading Museum worked with St John’s Primary school, a multi-cultural, multi-faith, Church of England Primary School in the midst of a richly diverse community, in the heart of Reading. St John’s describe their children as ‘whole-heartedly committed to St John’s. They are proud of their school and of their learning and achievements they make.’ Throughout the duration of our 6 month Take-Over Project, the children certainly proved to be eager learners committed to exploring and researching the past of the Abbey.

Children giving a talk about Reading Abbey
Delivering a 'virtual' tour of Reading Abbey

Over the project St John’s pupils visited the museum 3 times and used their time with us and in school to gather information, take photos, make drawings, create leaflets and posters, make animations, write invitations and finally write and deliver their tour to guests invited to our Take-Over Day Event.

Wharf and Necessarium

This project began in June 2018, when Reading Museum challenged the children of St John’s Year 5 to create a virtual tour of the Abbey and its illustrious history to be delivered in the Museum in November 2018. On their first visit to the Museum St John’s met one of our Costumed Interpreters, Queen Elizabeth. She took them on a tour of the Abbey and explained how she prepared for her role with lots of research and practicing what she is going to do and say. She finished by teaching them a Tudor dance which they loved. St John’s also learned how we create displays and share history with an audience. The pupils felt inspired to create their own tours.

Charcoal drawing of Abbey Ruins
Charcoal drawing of Reading Abbey Ruins

Their commitment to the project could have been tested by the Summer break but on their second visit to the Museum, the pupils of St Johns proved their memory of their first visit was still strong. They had even built on what they learned in their first visit with research they did at home and in school. They used tablets to create stop motion animations showing different paths to follow in the Abbey, supporting their presentations on all the locations such as the church, the dormitory, the gateway and the wharf.

The guests became immersed in the Abbey and felt that they were following a tour throughout the ruins, though they never had to leave the warmth of the museum on a cold day in November!

The project culminated in the Final Take-Over Day on Friday 23rd, when the children delivered their incredible tour for our prestigious guests such as the Mayor, Councillor Deb Edwards and the Councillors for Culture and Education, Councillor Sarah Hacker and Councillor Ashley Pearce. The children of St John’s were nervous but they didn’t let it get the better of them! They delivered a virtual tour of the Abbey and took questions like  very confident tour guides!

Children standing with the Mayor of Reading
Posing with the Mayor

Our guests were very impressed with the knowledge the children had and the amount of work that they had done. The Mayor presented the children with Mayoral wristbands and Take-Over Day certificates, thanking them for their hard work and their excellent virtual tour!

Reading Museum and the Learning Team had a fabulous time working with St John’s and we hope that we will see them again soon!

If you would like your school to Take-Over the Museum, please contact us at museum.education@reading.gov.uk